Conformity in Modern Science: An Engine of Societal Transformation?

  • Natalia Gennadievna Popova Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia
  • Yan Yurievich Moiseenko Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia
  • Thomas Alexander Beavitt Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia


The penetration of science into all spheres of life has self-evidently become a contemporary “megatrend”. In turn, science itself is also undergoing distinct transformations, e.g., as a result of such processes as increasing regulation and bureaucratisation within academia. In this context, researchers as active producers of scientific knowledge face multiple challenges, including the need to cope with increasing regulation of their everyday practices. Therefore, our research purpose was to investigate the phenomenon of conformity, which, although always having been inseparable from social life, is acquiring a new significance today. Various representations of conformity (e.g. conformist behaviour) have received a great deal of attention from sociologists, biologists and psychologists; however, to our knowledge, there is no generally accepted philosophical understanding of its nature. In this paper, we provide a phenomenological study of conformity on the basis of a comprehensive literature analysis and evaluate its role as a mode of existence in modern science. For the sake of clarity, some illustrations from the everyday lives of researchers are given, including the distribution of the IMRAD format of research articles. Conformity in science is predicted to involve consequences at three distinct levels: (1) within a scientific community, when scientists follow prescribed patterns of conduct; (2) within a particular society when people from all walks of life conform to the standards set by the scientised world-view; and (3) at the global level when non-western communities conform to western standards of life through borrowing western scientific world picture.

Author Biographies

Natalia Gennadievna Popova, Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Natalia Popova conducts research at the interface of sociology of science, linguistics and teaching English for academic purposes. She is particularly interested in transformations that occur in the field of scientific activity as a result of globalisation.

Yan Yurievich Moiseenko, Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia

PhD student, Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Yan Moiseenko investigates problems in the field of political science. His PhD research focuses on the phenomenon of conformity as the ontological foundation of modern political ideologies and political systems in general.

Thomas Alexander Beavitt, Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Researcher, Foreign Languages Department, Institute for Philosophy and Law, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Thomas Beavitt is a professional translator and applied linguist specialising in the production of scientific, philosophical and poetic texts. His research interests include cultural and linguistic differences between Russian and Western practices and traditions, focusing particularly on the boundary between language and music highlighted by the practice of poetic translation.


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How to Cite
Popova, N., Moiseenko, Y., & Beavitt, T. (2017). Conformity in Modern Science: An Engine of Societal Transformation?. Changing Societies & Personalities, 1(3), 237-258. doi:10.15826/csp.2017.1.3.017