All over the world, the pandemic has exacerbated social inequalities in ways never before seen in the 21st century. It is the task of social scientists and academics to carry out rigorous social analysis able to fully comprehend the underlying structure reproducing these social inequalities and what it does to already marginalised communities. This lecture grounds its thinking on Burawoy’s (2015) call for social scientists and academics to approach social inequalities as not merely an objective reality that is researched and explained, but to also see ourselves as actors and instruments within it. All social scientists and academics face the social dilemma of reproducing social inequalities through our academic labouring. The institutions we work in, our type of employment, available findings and resources, as well as the topics of research we can or can not study all contribute to our inevitable complicities in procreating social exclusions. This lecture problematises the neoliberalisation of higher education that limits the kinds of research we, as academics in Indonesia and those part of the Global South, can carry out. The lecture thus aims to widen the space for academic reflexivity, as well as social acceptance, of the responsibilities social scientists and academics must bear in a time of increased and more complex wealth and social inequalities.
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