Tensions across disciplines and methodologies over what constitutes appropriate academic voice in writing is far from arbitrary and instead is rooted in competing notions of epistemology, representation, and science. In this paper, I examine these tensions as well as address current issues affecting academic voice such as gender bias and the rise of social media. I begin by discussing reflexivity in research and then turn to the ways in which personal-reflexive voice has been hidden and revealed by academic writers. I also illustrate how the commercialization of academic science intersects with the use of distant-authoritative voice in sometimes corrupting ways. I examine variations in academic voice as they relate to issues of researcher emotion, class, race, and gender. Finally, I discuss the scientization of qualitative research and resulting increased interaction between scholars of varying epistemological positions which I argue can increase attention to the epistemological underpinnings of academic voice.


Writing, Epistemology, Reflexivity, Ethics, Publishing

Author Bio(s)

Garry Gray is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Victoria in Canada. Previously, Gray was a Research Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard Law School (2011-2015) where he conducted research on behavioral ethics inside academia. He was also a Research Fellow in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health from 2009- 2011 where he examined the influence of organizational culture on medical errors inside hospital settings. Gray received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2008 and holds a MA in Criminology from the Centre of Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, University of Toronto. Gray’s current research looks at the social organization of unethical behavior across institutions of public trust. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: gcgray@uvic.ca.


The author would like to thank Dan Wulff, Aimee Galick, and Carmen Mailloux for their insightful comments and helpful suggestions in the development of this article.

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