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I'm trying to say something to the effect of:

"While practitioners before the war were in an environment of ____, practitioners after the war were in an environment of accountability."

Meaning the previous era's practitioners weren't holding themselves to the results of their contributions.

Anyway, something other than "unaccountability" would be appreciated, of course.

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5 Answers 5

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Meaning the previous era's practitioners weren't holding themselves to the results of their contributions.

(emphasis mine)

Interesting word choice there. It makes me unsure what you mean.

If I don’t hold myself responsible for the consequences of my actions, I am irresponsible or undisciplined, possibly reckless. (These words imply a value judgment, though, so you wouldn’t use them in an academic or professional context without weighing them pretty carefully. But then, accountability is a loaded word too.)

If nobody else is holding me responsible, the environment is unregulated, ungoverned, unstructured, unmanaged, or lax; there is a Wild West atmosphere or perhaps lawlessness, indifference, or amorality; or to lapse completely into jargon, there is no social mechanism to keep me in line.

Social forces comes in a lot of shapes. Maybe it would be best to scrap that sentence and describe the change in question more precisely.

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You could say they were in a laissez faire environment. Or carefree, blamelessness.

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    I disagree w/ the connotations that laissez faire would bring. It's typically in relation to government restricting (or not restricting) private enterprise, not self-regulation. If you used that word, I (as the reader) would assume that the gov't would have put regulations in place after the war... Also, as one other note, (from wikipedia): "The phrase laissez-faire is French and literally means "let do", but it broadly implies "let it be", or "leave it alone.""... All of these imply a subject of "You [let it be]", not "We [let it be]"
    – Rikon
    Commented Oct 3, 2011 at 13:01
  • I guess laissez faire could be right, depending on what the practitioners were practicing, but yeah, without more information it seems like a bit of a shot in the dark. Commented Oct 3, 2011 at 18:00
  • With the same connotation: permissiveness.
    – Graffito
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 16:30
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"While practitioners before the war were in an environment of de facto impunity, practitioners after the war were in an environment of accountability."

impunity—exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action: the impunity enjoyed by military officers implicated in civilian killings / protestors burned flags on the street with impunity (New Oxford American Dictionary)

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I'd go with consequence-free or repercussionless. (Sticklers will say the last isn't a proper word, but I wouldn't hesitate to use it, personally.)

If you want to maintain the sentence structure, 'an environment free of consequences/repercussions' would do.

Another alternative would be using the phrase carte blanche.

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    Alternatively, you could restructure the sentence to say something along the lines of "The antebellum environment of unaccountability came to an end, with practitioners being held newly responsible for their actions."
    – user13141
    Commented Oct 3, 2011 at 10:19
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Fecklessness, recklessness, irresponsibility, disregard, delinquency, indifference, wantonness, haphazardness.

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    OP requests a single word, with a citation to defend your answer.
    – lbf
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 14:29
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    A good expert answer includes explanation, context, and supporting facts. This is what makes the answer useful – not only to the asker, but to future visitors to the page. Please consider expanding your answer. Expert partial answers are welcome, but notions, trial balloons, offhand ideas, guesses, anecdotes, and general discussion are not answers. If you are unsure what the asker is looking for, a better way is to request clarification in a comment on the question.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 16:57

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