Complexities of Respect. Meso-ethical practice and challenges

  • Catharina Juul Kristensen
Keywords: Meso-ethics, research ethics, respect, ethics and criticism, doctoral students.


This article introduces the concept of meso-ethics, which addresses the ethical principle of respect in relation to organisations and professions involved in research projects, including their reputation, interest and future after the research. The concept of meso-ethics supplements the traditional concepts of micro ethics (respect for the involved individuals), and macro ethics (the societal consequences of research). The concept of meso-ethics is central to sociological and social research, because this research often focuses on organisations and professions. The inclusion of a meso-ethical perspective may strengthen this social research by providing a more detailed understanding of the complexities of respect in relation to the involved organisations and professions. Mesoethics is elaborated through a qualitative analysis of doctoral students’ research ethics practice. The article contributes to the discussion of ethics by introducing this concept, and by providing insights into the mesoethical practice of doctoral students.


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