ARENAS Spotlight: Work Package 6 – Ethics, Norms and Politically Sensitive Science

Dr. Katalin Miklóssy, a distinguished scholar at the University of Helsinki’s Aleksanteri Institute takes the lead of Work Package 6 (WP6), which looks at Ethics, Norms and Politically Sensitive Science. As the Jean Monnet Chair of Political History and Head of Eastern European Studies, her expertise illuminates the intricate relationship between extremism and mainstream political trends—a pivotal focus of the ARENAS project. Beyond academia, her passion for animal rights reflects her unwavering commitment to confronting injustice—a trait that earned her the endearing label of a “genuine extremist” from her husband, a fitting trait considering her role in the ARENAS project.

Katalin Miklóssy
Katalin Miklóssy

The WP6 team will be responsible for monitoring the ethical conduct of the ARENAS project and focusing on academic freedom in their research. Dr. Miklóssy collaborates closely with Julien Longhi, the WP1 leader, and the international Ethical Board to ensure that all research activities adhere to rigorous ethical standards. For the second task, Dr. Miklóssy acknowledges the collective efforts of partner universities’ teams, including notable individuals such as Fabienne Baider and Lina Katsigiri from the Cyprus team, Ana Yara Postigo Fientes from the Düsseldorf team, Agnes Capurri from the Barcelona team, Tjasa Konovsek from the Ljubljana team, and Rasma Pipike from the Latvian team. While research into policies and regulations defining the space of academic conduct and public discourse on academic scholarship will commence in the Fall of 2024, interdisciplinary collaboration is still in the planning stage.

WP6 has a threefold objective, which allows it to navigate the ethical complexities inherent in researching extremism, ensuring the responsible conduct of all project members. Through the creation of common principles and guidelines, the WP6 fosters a culture of ethical research, guided by informed consent, ethical approvals, storage of personal data and risk assessment. Dr. Miklóssy and the WP6 team address the challenges of accessing research material on sensitive subjects, such as hate speech, while advocating for academic freedom and resilience against political pressures. By analysing the societal reception of politically sensitive research, they shed light on the diverse perspectives that shape scholarly discourse across Europe.

Collaborating closely with international partners and colleagues, Dr. Miklóssy emphasises the interdisciplinary nature of the ARENAS project. She states that “being in ARENAS accompanied with colleagues who come from a different academic background, widens one’s own horizon by new theoretical and methodological approaches. “Through open dialogue and shared expertise, researchers transcend disciplinary boundaries, enriching their perspectives and methodologies. As WP6 progresses, Dr. Miklóssy anticipates groundbreaking insights into the state of European academia and the challenges faced by scholars in navigating politically charged landscapes.

Dr. Miklóssy’s lateral thinking and interdisciplinary approach foster a dynamic environment where diverse voices converge to redefine the discourse on extremism and narrative. With each step forward, the project reaffirms the transformative power of scholarly engagement and the boundless potential of collaborative research.

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