23 SES 07 B, The Politics of Research
This paper deals with differences and changes of self-understandings, scientific ideals and research practices in gender education research in Sweden, with comparisons made to Germany. In the paper we highlight differences in the ways in which gender education research has come to construct its history, its disputes as well as its present and future challenges. The identification and analyses of such differences have the purpose of exposing epistemic and social dynamics involved in the methodological specificities of educational gender research itself. Our focus is the meta-narratives on research identities and methodological innovations.
“Gender” and “feminism” are two vital concepts when questions on self-understandings, scientific ideals and research practices of educational gender research are addressed. Each concept has its own genealogy, but both overtly link the research to its social, scientific and political embedding. A recent example of the latter is how gender research is drawn into the research politics of excellence and innovation (www.genderedinnovations.eu). Notwithstanding, our analyses involves the identification of shifts as well as differences in the ways in which each of the two concepts have been engaged in the processes of truthmaking and politics of gender (education) research.
The methodological orientation of our paper follows insights earlier made by feminist scholars interested in the “social construct” of science (Harding, 1986; Haraway, 1991). However, while their critique of dominant understandings of science, science-power relations and the epistemological divergences of feminist research was highly influential in feminist and gender research in most countries in the 1990s, the interest in their “the science question in feminism” is today weak. What prevails among scholars is the interest and critical debates over the scientific value and developments of gender and feminist research. Lately, Hawkesworth (2006) has both pointed to methodological innovations in the field and problematized when gender approaches are used as universal accounts, allowing no variations over situations and contexts. One such, often forgotten context is the discipline.
It is our ambition to revitalize the “Science question in feminism” into the specific context of gender education research in Sweden and Germany. However, as our interest now is to gain understandings of the ways in which constructs of gender research in meta-narratives interact and depend on their disciplinary context, in political as well as epistemic terms, the “Science question in feminism” is reversed. Differences in epistemologies will now also engage differences in the very objects under study. These object, we argue, are in their construct intimately related to the cognitive and social dynamics at play in the political formation and governance of the disciplines.
In relation to our specific foci we aim to study research reviews from Sweden and Germany. Our main objective is to:
- give an overview of the differences and characteristics of metanarratives,
- analyse the ways in which these characteristics relate to observed differences within the constitution of the discipline (Education/pedagogik ),
- revitalise the “science question in feminism” within the context of education and educational research.
Ahn, S; Ames, A. J; and Myers, N. D. (2012). A Review of Meta-Analyses in Education. Methodological Strengths and Weaknesses. Review of Educational Research 82(4), 436-476. Andersson, K.; Nehlin, A. Muftee, M; Becevic, M. (2010). Barns perspektiv på jämställdhet i skola: En kunskapsöversikt. (Childrens’ perspective on equality in school: A research overview). SOU 2010:66. Stockholm: Delegationen för jämställdhet i skolan. Bönold, F. (2005). Zur Lage der pädagogischen Frauen und Geschlechterforschung. (On the state of educational women’s and gender research) Casale, R. et al., Geschlechterforschung in der Kritik. Opladen: Budrich. Faulstich-Wieland, H. (2009). Geschlechterforschung in der Erziehungswissenschaft: ein Überblick. (Gender research in education: An overview) In Enzyklopädie Erziehungswissenschaft Online. Weinheim: Juventus. Hacking, I. (1992). “Style” for Historians and Philosophers. Studies in History and Philosophy, 23, 1-20. Haraway, D. (1991). Situated Knowledge. The Science Wuestion of Feminism and the Privilege of Partial perspective. In; Simans, Cyborgs, and women. London: Free Association Books. Harding, S. (1986). The Science Question in Feminism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Harré, R. (1992). The Uses of Sense, International Studies in Philosophy 24 (1), 145 -146. Hawkesworth, M E. (2006). Feminist Inquiry: From Political Conviction to Methodological Innovation. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. Wernersson, I. (2006). Genusperspektiv på pedagogik. (Gender approaches in Educational science). Stockholm: Högskoleverket. Öhrn, E. (2002). Könsmönster i förändring: En kunskapsöversikt om unga i skolan. (Differences between the sexes in change. A research overview on young people in school). Stockholm: Skolverket.
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