Accepted paper:

The pernicious policy plot: A Russian neocon narrative about child rights, social reform, and gender mainstreaming as tools of the gay lobby

Authors:

Tova Höjdestrand (Lund University)

Paper short abstract:

A global elite attempts to establish a One World Government by use of transnational policy in the field of social welfare and child protection. Similarities between this narrative and critical academic studies on neoliberal governance begs the question if these genres are all that different.

Paper long abstract:

Sexual perversion, broken families, and a totalitarian network of child protecting agencies persecuting innocent parents - these are central tropes to the Parents' Movement, a conservative grassroots mobilization in defense of "traditional Russian family values". The primary target is an ongoing state effort to strengthen the protection and the rights of children in line with the UN Child Convention, but the protests involve also sex education, gay parades, gender equality, and other moral threats brought upon Russia by "Euro-Sodom". Purportedly, a global liberal lobby and a domestic fifth column aim to subject Russia to a One World Government by attacking the family, the nexus of tradition, by way of transnational policy. Conspiracy narratives are symptomatic for contemporary Russian public discourse, but this one distinguishes itself by its focus on soft power, neoliberal governance, and welfare policy as conspiratorial devices. Chiming with Foucauldian critical policy studies, it stresses how policy, by superseding law, dislocates power from elected bodies to administrators, discursively disguised as politically neutral. Nor is the narrative erroneous per se, despite many outlandish conclusions, for the aim of transnational policy is indeed global standardization according to Western models. This paper attempts to relate this criticism of neoliberal governance and global standardization to the one of our own academic abode - are our worldviews really all that different, the question goes, or is it rather a matter of explanatory models, of different ways to persuade and to construct one's straw men?

panel P110
Things are not as they seem. Tracing the movements and immobility of conspiracy theories