Opposition to “gender” in academia and beyond

How ultraconservatives and right-wing populists change the rules of the game





The rise of ultraconservative, often religious movements and the right-wing electoral victories in many European countries, such as Poland, limit the opportunities for inserting feminist agenda in academia, institutional settings and public debates. In my presentation I will argue that national and transnational campaigns against “gender ideology” should be interpreted a new phase of the struggle around politics of expertise and knowledge-policy nexus, highlighting issues such as the sources of scientific authorization, the status of an expert, and the ways in which the relations between academia, politics, the media and public are shaped. Right-wing populists and religious fundamentalists opposing “gender” seek not only political but also epistemic power. They attempt to build up their own sources of legitimacy, which include forming new institutions, promoting new public intellectuals and producing new body of gender knowledge. How does this increasingly hostile political context re-shape the formation and mobilization of competing gender knowledges, and how women’s movements can succeed in achieving social change?


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Author Biography

Elżbieta Korolczuk

Elżbieta Korolczuk, PhD, is a sociologist, working at Södertörn University in Stockholm and the American Studies Center, University of Warsaw. Her research interests involve social movements and reproduction from a feminist perspective. She published numerous texts, e.g. on the women’s movements and neoliberalism, new forms of citizenship, politicization of reproduction and anti-gender mobilization in Poland and abroad. Most recent publications include two edited volumes: Civil Society Revisited: Lessons from Poland co-edited with Kerstin Jacobsson (Berghahn Books, 2017), Rebellious Parents. Parental Movements in Central-Eastern Europe and Russia co-edited with Katalin Fábián (Indiana University Press, 2017), and articles, e.g. "The War on Gender from a Transnational Perspective - Lessons for Feminist Strategising“ (2014) and "Gender as ‘Ebola from Brussels’: The Anti-colonial Frame and the Rise of Illiberal Populism" together with Agnieszka Graff (2018). She is also feminist activist and commentator. 


Read the interview Kaja Nan Gjelde-Benn conducted in advance of the conference with keynote speaker Elżbieta Korolczuk here.



How to Cite

Korolczuk, E. (2019). Opposition to “gender” in academia and beyond: How ultraconservatives and right-wing populists change the rules of the game . Septentrio Conference Series, (3). https://doi.org/10.7557/5.5085