Calls for research

I read this recently in an academic paper:

“For these reasons, researchers have recently called for increased attention and investigation of … ”

It’s a standard sentence and it always trips my bullshit meter. I can’t quite put my finger on what the problem is, but it has something to do with a polite fiction about the “the field” that I’m supposed to share. The fiction is that the field is highly rational and organized. There are certain real gaps in the field out there, and an alert researcher can spot one of these and call for increased attention and investigation. Like a factory worker empowered to shut down that assembly line when he or she spots a problem. Or an emergency worker poring through the rubble from an earthquake, who spots a half-buried arm.


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