More heat than light: plagiarism in its appearing

CLEGG, S. and FLINT, A. (2006). More heat than light: plagiarism in its appearing. British journal of sociology of education, 27 (3), 373-387.

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This paper argues that the recent debate about plagiarism has taken on aspects of a moral panic, which reflects underlying anxieties about the state of higher education in the United Kingdom. In contrast to the moral absolutism of some commentators, we argue for the significance of posing the phenomenological question of 'what is plagiarism in its appearing?' We present a detailed idiographic analysis of two cases taken from a wider study of staff perceptions of plagiarism looking at the multiple meanings of plagiarism in the life-world of individual staff. Our approach does not entail judgemental relativism; rather, it involves a proper recognition of the limitations of rule-bound approaches to complex ethical matters. We argue for a virtues-based approach to plagiarism, which recognises complexity, and for a more measured and collegial debate.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Learning and Teaching Institute
Identification Number:
Page Range: 373-387
Depositing User: Ann Betterton
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2009
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2021 01:15

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