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Technocracy and Democracy: convergence, conflicts and negotiations. A comparative and global analysis of expert knowledge and political power (18th to 21th century)

Final Report Summary - TECHDEM (Technocracy and Democracy: convergence, conflicts and negotiations. A comparative and global analysis of expert knowledge and political power (18th to 21th century))

The TECHDEM Project has systematically explored the relationship between power and knowledge. The subsection Expertise and Changing Configurations of Political Power has explored the ways in which changing configurations of political power have contributed to construe and shape expert knowledge and how, in its turn, expert knowledge and experts have shaped political power and its vehicles/institutions. Individual and collaborative research in the framework of TECHDEM has shown the multiple and interconnected positioning of professional and expert groups. While they often constituted themselves as such within the state apparatus, particularly in the nineteenth-century Mediterranean, these groups shaped public policies not only from within the Administration, but also from without, contributing to create and expand the so-called “public opinion”. TECHDEM’s aim to go beyond scholarly debate and create a space where the relationship between power and knowledge is discussed in a way that combines expert and citizen dimensions of the debate, has led to the creation of the Taller Marie Sklodowska-Curie “Historiadores: entre expertos y ciudadanos”, a permanent monthly workshop open to general public, mostly attended by undergraduate and post-graduate students, academics and graduates who wish to contribute to the dialogue between academia and society. The subsection Spatial Dimensions of Expertise has been developed in two directions. First, the CIG has been used to finish the edited volume (with Meltem Kocaman, Istanbul University) examining spatial dimensions of knowledge-production in urban space (to be published in 2017). Second, the researcher has carried out systematic analysis of the interaction of transnational and local aspects in the configuration of professional/expert cultures. The Workshop Global Traffic, organized by the researcher in Madrid in June 2016, in cooperation with Meltem Kocaman (Istanbul University, MC IRSES WORLDBRIDGES), has proven to be a fruitful platform for comparative and transnational analysis. The results of this line of research on the so-called “global engineers” will be published in French and English, including a chapter in an edited volume to be published in Palgrave Macmillan. The subsection Expertise, Citizenship and Gender has proven to be a very dynamic one. The researcher has collaborated with several distinguished scholars to examine the ways masculinity was redefined through interaction with the discourse of “progress of civilization” and how gendered metaphors contributed to construct and reproduce the “nation” (Masculinidad, Nación y Civilización en España (1830-1930) workshop in Madrid; edited volume). Second, the researcher has established interdisciplinary collaboration with sociologist Marta Vohlídalová (Academy of Sciences, Czechia) and created a small team to explore gender aspects of knowledge production in comparative and transnational perspective. This has led to outreach activities aimed at civil society, including invitations to present and discuss the results at the Institutos de la Mujer.
The results of the project have been disseminated in several publications (including three articles in Web of Science journals), at international conferences and in events and platforms open to broader public. The CIG has been extremely helpful in terms of contributing to the researcher’s professional consolidation, that is, in her obtaining a five-year contract at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

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