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Document Type

Ethics and Forensics

Abstract

Even a brief survey of academic journals and communication convention programs will reveal that ethics is a major concern among forensics professionals. The 2008 National Developmental Conference in Individual Events is no exception. A panel has been convened to present papers, discuss implications, and suggest policy action regarding ethical procedures in competitive intercollegiate forensics. While much past discussion and action has occurred on the subject of rules violations—ethical issues which enjoy essentially consensual agreement in the discipline—there is also a substantial concern over normative standards. These normative standards, which I refer to as "conventions," largely govern what actually occurs during individual events competitions. While national forensics organizations have taken some actions to restrain judges from relying on convention to the detriment of adherence to event rules, and literature decries the constraint upon creativity resulting from this reliance, the fact remains that convention continues to create “unwritten rules.” In this paper, I contend that there is an ethical imperative for coaches and judges to take further action to overcome the negative effects of these conventions. Applying the educational philosophy of Paulo Freire, which he calls a "pedagogy of freedom," (Freire, 1998), I contend that to allow convention to dominate is to dehumanize forensics activities, resulting in an anti-educational "factory" product which fails the student. Finally, I will suggest proactive methods of using forensics pedagogy to further current actions in response to rules violations and to prevent convention from usurping the educational values of the activity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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