“THE SOFT POWER” OF EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES: GENDER AND SEXUALITY POLICIES

Sergey A. Pankratov, Liliia S. Pankratova, Olga A. Fokina

Research output

Abstract

The article is devoted to the problematization and conceptualization of influence,
as well as the potential for participation of higher education institutions, as educational and scientific centers,
in the formation and implementation of gender and sexual policies in modern European countries, which are
widely debated and ambiguously perceived in society. Methods. The article conceptualizes the concepts of
gender and sexual policy in two senses: as a sphere of the struggle for power, as well as a system of technologies
and actions in solving socially important problems. As a theoretical and methodological framework, the
principles of social constructionism are used in interpreting the content, meaning and research of technologies
for the formation of public representations and culture on issues of intimate and inter-sexual relations. Based
on the use of general scientific methods and the heuristic potential of the Overton window concept, a scheme
is proposed for explaining and studying the participation of universities in the “promotion” of relevant
policies and politics. Results. The heuristic potential of the concept of “Overton’s Window” to the political
science problematization, interpretation and explanation of the “soft power” potential of modern universities
in shaping, discussing the social and political agenda on sexual and gender culture in Europe is revealed. It is
shown that sexual and gender policies in society can be aimed at changing the values, perceptions and norms
of the organization of interactions in the relevant areas of life, both at the level of individual practices and
social institutions. Social and communicative technologies (informed discussion, events, creation of terms,
name-calling) that are (un)intentionally used in the framework of higher education institutions to normalize
and politicize ideas, perceptions and values regarding gender issues, the organization of sexual life can be
interpreted as important tools for transforming unthinkable practices and beliefs into the category of not only
acceptable, eligible on the existence of a pluralism of views, but also dominant in political discourse.
Discussion. The issue of the ethical principles of the implementation of the “soft power” strategy by European
universities, as well as the political and social sense and consequences of radical transformations in gender
and sexual culture and the structure of society, present in the discourses of European academic science and
education, remains open and poorly studied
Translated title of the contribution«МЯГКАЯ СИЛА» ЕВРОПЕЙСКИХ УНИВЕРСИТЕТОВ: ГЕНДЕРНАЯ И СЕКСУАЛЬНАЯ ПОЛИТИКИ
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-222
JournalВЕСТНИК ВОЛГОГРАДСКОГО ГОСУДАРСТВЕННОГО УНИВЕРСИТЕТА. СЕРИЯ 4: ИСТОРИЯ. РЕГИОНОВЕДЕНИЕ. МЕЖДУНАРОДНЫЕ ОТНОШЕНИЯ
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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