Accepted Paper:

Gendered networks as important for epistemic cultures in academia and careers  


Felizitas Sagebiel (University of Wuppertal)

Paper long abstract:

Epistemic cultures are fundamentally created and reproduced by networks. They characterize academic disciplines, as well as factors which define disciplines as well as scientific cultures and departments in higher education. These cultures define criteria for disciplinary quality. In academic engineering these criteria can be evaluated by patents and publications.

If networks are gendered and male networks are more powerful in this male domain of engineering which is the thesis of this paper These men's networks together with their gatekeepers can influence not only the career of female engineers negatively, but, define the epistemic academic cultures with the result of a tendency of inclusion of men and exclusion of women.

This is one reason to question the focus on academic qualification of researchers only. Those factors favoring success are masculine biased but, have been neglected by focusing only on the individual merit. To get successfully research funds and publications networking and playing between cooperation and competition is necessary in which women are structural discriminated.

The background of this paper is a German research project, lasting from April 2009 to March 2012, financed by the Ministry of Education and Research and the European Social Funds, which combined the expertise of two institutions, the University of Wuppertal and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. With a qualitative methodological design (especially interviews and focus discussion groups), case studies were conducted in companies, political institutions, governmental research organizations and universities. In this paper, only results from the academic institutions will be presented.

Panel J1
Situating gendered solidarities in epistemic cultures of science, technology, and other areas of academic practice