Appearing True in the social sciences: Reflections on an academic Hoax

Maria Hynes*, Scott Sharpe, Alastair Greig

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    In early 2009 Keith Windschuttle, an Australian historian and editor of the conservative journal Quadrant, was caught out having accepted for publication a fraudulent piece of academic research, a hoax which aimed to reveal the hypocrisy of Windschuttle's public stance on standards of scholarship. Over 10 years after the Sokal affair, the Windschuttle hoax raises in a new way the question of the relationship of social science to the problem of truth. We argue that, through its transgression of the rules and norms of social scientific practice, the hoax can draw our attention to those very rules and norms, affirming our commitment to them. In pursuing this argument, we consider what it means for social science to play its particular 'language game', highlighting the similarities and differences between the hoax's and social sciences' efforts to 'seem true'.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-303
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Sociology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


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