Epistemic Living Spaces, International Mobility, and Local Variation in Scientific Practice
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This article explores local variations in scientific practice through the lens of scientists’ international mobility. Its aim is twofold: to explore how the notion of epistemic living spaces may be mobilised as a tool for systematically exploring differences in scientific practice across locations, and to contribute to literature on scientific mobility. Using material from an interview study with scientists with experience of international mobility, and epistemic living spaces as an analytical frame, the paper describes a set of aspects of life in science that interviewees described as being different in different places. These axes of variation were: embodied routines of research; resource levels and salaries; daily or longer-term rhythms of scientific life (and their relation to rhythms of home or family); ‘efficiency’ and how work time is used; degree of hierarchy; the nature of social interactions between colleagues; the purposes of research; the social and interpersonal organisation of knowledge production; and the scale or ambition of research. In presenting an exploratory overview of these variations, the article points the way for future comparative investigation of epistemic cultures through studies of international mobility.