, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 441-463

First online:

The Typology of the Game that American, British, and Danish Crop and Plant Scientists Play

  • Mercy W. KamaraAffiliated withDepartment of Communication, Business and Information Technologies, Roskilde University Email author 

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Drawing from contemporary social science studies on the shifting regime of research governance, this paper extends the literature by utilizing a metaphoric image—research is a game—observed in a field engagement with 82 American, British, and Danish crop and plant scientists. It theorizes respondents’ thinking and practices by placing the rules of the research “game” in dynamic and interactive tension between the scientific, social, and political-economic contingencies that generate opportunities or setbacks. Scientists who play the game exploit opportunities and surmount setbacks by adopting strategies and reinventing tactics in order to maximize their winnings and to minimize their losses. Winners become superstars who decree what is open, closed, or doable science for the majority of the scientific community.


Typology of the game of research Game metaphor Metaphorical theorization Public university researchers Online and popular games