Accepted paper:

Genderism is dangerous! Conspiracy theories in academic discourses


Marion Naeser-Lather (University of Marburg)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores antifeminist conspiracy theories by scientists about gender mainstreaming, the liberalization of gender relationships and gender studies, based on a discourse analysis (Jäger 2009) and expert-interviews.

Paper long abstract:

In the course of rising neo-conservatism, in Germany gender mainstreaming, the liberalization of gender relationships and also Gender Studies have recently become the target of critique by scientists of different fields, among them biologists, sociologists, philosophers and economists. The critics, often renowned professors, stage themselves as enlighteners fighting for rationalism and against the endangerment of science, freedom of speech, and the society as a whole by "genderism". Conspiracy theories form a vital core of their argumentation: Political actors, feminists and gender researchers are thought of plotting to suppress men, promote homosexuality, convert society, create the "unisex"-human and to establish a totalitarian regime. Such texts have been received by mass media and gained power of interpretation because the scientific discourse level functions, as Arnold Gehlen (1957) has stated, as "super-structure", as an untestable final justification. How does conspirational thinking manifests itself in the text of gender-critic scientists? What narratives and argumentation figures do they employ, and from which epistemological standpoint do they speak? Inhowfar are their conspiracy theories about "genderism" interwoven with historical antifeminism, and how are they connected with current discourses among new far-right groups and parties? These questions I will explore based on a discourse analysis (based on Jäger 2009) of texts of gender-critics within the scientific community as well as interviews with spokespersons from expert associations.

panel P121
Conspiracy theories and conspiracy practices: moving between rationalities