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The Paradoxes of Political Epistemology: Democratization of Expertise Versus Antigenderism in Germany
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education, Gender Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8084-2045
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In the last decades, theorizing about societal and political transformations have been closely intertwined with claims about new modalities of knowledge production. A reflexive mode of knowledge was identified and assumed that science has lost its traditional status of relative autonomy and thus becomes increasingly interwoven with other societal spheres. Exemplary for this changes was the transformation of classical research universities towards a more application-oriented mode of scientific knowledge. The institutionalization of women´s and gender studies as post-academic interdisciplinary field corresponds with this socially distributed, system of knowledge production. Equally important has been the remaking of the policy-science nexus. Scientific claims in political processes have become increasingly publicly contested, especially in new policy areas such as ecological and genetic technologies and not least in the field of gender policies. The traditional technocratic and hierarchical policy-making style has been gradually reshaped by more horizontal participatory procedures in which “expert” knowledge is not synonymous with “scientific” knowledge. The past decades have seen a growing commitment by governments to public involvement, and public dialogue in governance, which have been classified as democratization of expertise. These developments implied a recognition of feminist knowledge and academia as politically relevant “gender expertise,” in many European countries, also in Germany. Parallel to this processes, since around 2005 public campaigns against the “ideology of gender” or “genderism” started to question the scientific character of gender research as a discipline. This paper explores the interplay between gender, knowledge, and policy-making in Germany within the field of gender equality within this highly contradictory constellation. Feminist research about the science-policy-politics nexus has been for quite some time a remarkable gap in feminist political science, but has been expanding in the last couple of years (Bustelo, Ferguson and Forest 2016; Cavaghan 2017). “Male-stream” shows that countries differ enormously with regard to the ways in which they institutionalize expertise and assess knowledge claims in political processes (Jasanoff 2005; Campbell and Pedersen 2010; Weingart and Lentsch 2010). In terms of gender policies, Germany presents a puzzling case. While (West) Germany was until quite recently very reluctant to remodel its strong male-breadwinner gender regime, it has since the 1970s established one of the largest gender equality machineries in Europe. Germany’s gender equality institutions have, however, not prevented it from becoming a notorious laggard with regard to the implementation of relevant European Union directives (Liebert 1999; Lang 2009). This paper deploys a novel perspective. It launches the concept of political epistemologies drawing on insights from science and technology studies, which have been pioneering research focusing on the policy-science nexus and moving it from a linear “knowledge utilization approach” towards a notion of co-production and boundary-crossing configurations. It will pursue the following questions: In what ways has scientific expertise contributed to the shape of these political fields? What institutional and epistemic mechanisms can account for the detected knowledge regime? Which impact has the anti-genderist mobilization on the political epistemology?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Gender, Knowledge, Activism, Policy-Making
National Category
Gender Studies Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-39099OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-39099DiVA, id: diva2:1356611
Conference
ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research) General Conference, Hamburg, August 22-25, 2018.
Part of project
Gender and Political Cultures of Knowledge in Germany, Poland, and Sweden, The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 78/2014_OSSAvailable from: 2019-10-01 Created: 2019-10-01 Last updated: 2019-10-10Bibliographically approved

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Kulawik, Teresa

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • Other style
More styles
Language
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  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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