Towards a Social Model of Plagiarism

Mike Reddy

Victoria Jones


In the ten years since the first International Plagiarism conference, little has changed in evolving the view of plagiarism as more than an academic offence. The importance of plagiarism from a student‟s perspective, rather than that of the existing academy hierarchy, has never been more relevant. This paper builds upon previous practical work that identified the need for overcoming the power imbalance in Further and Higher Education, and the disruptive force of the Internet. A social model of plagiarism is proposed that builds upon a practical definition of plagiarism – The Four Cs – and identifies its cause as products of the power relationships and educational climate in universities and colleges today. This challenges us to simultaneously address the social and cultural aspects that give rise to the occurrence, identification and regulation of plagiarism. Finally, a call is made for us to recognise the forces that maintain the status quo in Education, and to take direct action against the „Institutional Plagiarism‟ that this creates.

This paper was submitted to the International Integrity & Plagiarism Conference which ran between 2004-2014. The paper was peer reviewed by an independent editorial board and features in the conference proceedings.