Academics are subject to norms in many ways.

Obligations and prohibitions constitute a diverse and heterogenous complex. Codified expectations of behaviour specifically formulated for researchers' actions such as the DFG's "Principles to ensure good scientific practice" only encompass a relatively small section of actions and are, implicitly, geared towards very specific disciplines.

Beyond that, there are many norms for correct academic behaviour. Presumably, these other norms make up the larger part and are by no means less important, even if they have not been issued in writing by an institution. They are about conventions, standards, rules of politeness and questions of academic style – or, put in a different way: manners. There is hardly a field of action that does not provide norms for propriety or prudence: Introductions and acknowledgements, the "usual application documents", the choice of research topics, the demonstrative presence in the workplace at early or late hours, the decorous behaviour at conferences (address, title, attitude, habits, clothing), the assessment of "fashionable" topics, citation rules, the arrangement of favourable reviews and many more.

The centrality of unwritten laws

Although some details may be disputed, there is no doubt as to the fundamental validity of unwritten laws. Their centrality for individual professional advancement and for the constitution of the field is regarded very highly by all participants. Is the importance of "manners" underestimated in debates about scientific norms? And what does sociology, of universities and science, say about this?

The RG, Manners!, undertook existing disciplinary, situative, geographic, and other differences into consideration, but also to look at comparable and comparative elements. Questions, such as the following were addressed: What normative pressure is exerted by the increased market orientation and economisation of project-based academia? Does this affect the content beyond the influence over the kind of research and the presentation of results?

As long as form and content cannot be separated in academia, should academics' style and manners not be treated as a constituent rather than discounted as appendices to the "real" content?
The Research Group ceased its activities with the publication of the anthology "Mekkas der Moderne. Pilgerstätten der Wissensgesellschaft" in 2010.

Debates and Expert Panels

The RG Manners! organised three events during which several core themes of its work were illuminated and discussed.


In 2010, the RG Manners! published the anthology "Mekkas der Moderne. Pilgerstätten der Wissensgesellschaft" and in 2006, published by C.H. Beck Verlag, the dictionary "Der Campus-Knigge".


participating Alumnae / Alumni