Building on scholarship in feminist philosophy and social studies of science, the project will examine the role of gender in the production of knowledge contexts and cultures in an East-West perspective in two scientific fields (sociology and biology). While critiques of science and situated conceptions of knowledge have been developed in western Euro-American contexts, traditional assumptions of knowledge production were largely unexamined in former state-socialist countries. The absence of local examinations of knowledge contexts currently jeopardises effective implementation of gender equality in the ERA.
The study will apply a multi-method approach that aims to build theory and to develop appropriate conceptual tools. Research will be carried out in the five partner countries. It encompasses the analysis of existing statistical data on two select research institutions per country that will be situated in national contexts, and the analysis of a life course questionnaire distributed to the members of these institutions requesting demographic and career related information. Subsequent stages include the analysis of documents on public discourse on science, and institutional policies and procedures; targeted participant observation of research practices in the select institutions; in-depth interviews with a diverse group of scientists and repeat focus groups that will further explore and conceptualise salient concerns. The research will culminate in a comparative cross-national analysis.
A summary report will give account of national practices and the role of gender in knowledge contexts, identify potential differences due to historical divergences in Eastern and Western Europe, and make recommendations for the promotion of gender equality and the engagement of young people in science. Findings will be disseminated at national and EU levels to influence science policies and to encourage the establishment of feminist science studies.
Call for proposal
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