Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Radical geographer doubles up on sexuality paper, earns retraction

with 6 comments

ImageRadical geography journal Antipode has retracted a paper on sexuality and geography after discovering that author Martin Zebracki published an almost identical article in a Dutch magazine on which he served as a member of the editorial board.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Right to Space: Moving Towards Sexual Citizenship Beyond the Nation State”:

The above article, published online on 19th April 2013 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the author, Antipode Foundation Ltd, and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The retraction has been agreed due to unattributed prior publication of a substantially similar version of this article in Dutch in Agora, Volume 29, Number 1, 2013 (“Recht op ruimte” by Martin Zebracki & Valerie De Craene).

Here’s the introduction from the Antipode article, published online in April 2013 (emphasis added):

Irrespective of sexual preference, all humans viscerally desire – and deserve – the right to space. Sexuality can be considered a socio-historical foundation of humankind, as acknowledged by enlightening scholars like Foucault and Elias. Since the cultural turn in the 1980s, structural inequalities in terms of class, sex, gender, sexuality and social power have become pivotal to geographical enquiry. In the 1990s, many geographers began to focus on the crossroads of sexuality and space, inspired primarily by queer theory (see Bell and Valentine 1995; Browne et al., 2007; De Lauretis 1991; Johnston and Longhurst 2010; Oswin 2008; Taylor et al., 20011). Queer theory particularly criticizes conventional public planning and policy that, from a heteronormative faculty of thought, orders and classifies space based on the family as mainstay of society, where sexuality belongs not on the street but, so to speak, in the bedroom.

And here, as translated by Google, is the introduction from “Recht op ruimte,” a Dutch-language article published in a 2013 issue of Agora, a Dutch magazine. Zebracki was on the editorial board of Agora from 2005-2013.

It’s not just the philosopher Michel Foucault and the sociologist Norbert Elias who recognize sexuality as a historical-social foundation. Since ancient times, sexuality is inseparable from the society away. Moreover, it always been interest in science, though geographers themselves relatively late start mixing. Seksualiteitsde in the debate From the cultural turn in the eighties structural inequalities in terms of class, gender, sexuality and social power were more central position in geographical research. Teresa de Lauretis’ queer theory in 1990 left many Western European geographers inspired by the intersection of sexuality and space, which conceptually begun to tap into a highly multidisciplinary keg.

‘Queer’ has a double meaning here. It is an academic approach to structural inequalities in sexuality. Lauretis argued that social bulk looking through a (mandatory) heterosexual glasses to reality. This queer gets his second meaning: the otherness, what does it say in this case non-heterosexual-be. Queer Theory criticizes include city planners who simply divide the space based on the family as the cornerstone of society, where sexuality in the bedroom and off street belongs.

The notice first went online in December 2013. The paper does not appear to have been cited yet.

Written by Cat Ferguson

June 19th, 2014 at 11:00 am

Comments
  • Karen Shashok June 19, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    “Substantial overlap”? We’d need to compare the full texts of both versions to really know.

    Based on the two excerpts here, the English version does not look like a translation of the Dutch version but rather like a recasting and rewrite, with notable differences in how the background information is used to frame the question. Did people at Wiley decide that the English article contained no original ideas or thinking that had not already been published in Dutch?

    For cases like this, wouldn’t a correction to add the missing reference to the earlier publication in a different language be more useful than a retraction? Removing the article from the English-language literature isn’t very helpful to scholars who can’t read Dutch.

    • Marco June 19, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Possibly Valerie De Craene has complained? She’s a co-author on the piece in the Dutch Magazine.

    • johnalanpascoe June 20, 2014 at 3:48 am

      Skimming through both the Dutch and the English articles it’s not a one-to-one translation, but there is a good deal of overlap. As Marco already pointed it, it’s a bit strange that a co-author was ‘lost in translation’.

      It’s also notable that the Dutch article is presented as the synthesis of an interview with 4 experts, whereas the English article is presented as a personal analysis with input from 4 experts.

  • herr doktor bimler June 21, 2014 at 6:03 am

    What on Earth (so to speak) is “radical geography”?

  • PJTV June 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

    An interesting issue is, whether a reworked translation of an article – by the same authors – is plagiarism or an action to make research results available to a wider public. I do think this is the latter, iff the original publication is properly referred to as the basis of the article. I can also imagine that in the social sciences restating social or philosophical research problems and results benefit from placing them in an other cultural context.

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