Group of courses: Law, Economics and Social Sciences
In addition to gaining a systematic overview of the historical developments of the feminist political approach, students should become familiar with central theoretical concepts and methods of feminist political science. The aim is to enable students to apply these concepts and methods in the different areas of political science (Political Theory, Comparative Politics/ Comparative Government, Political System of the Federal Republic of Germany, International Relations, European Governance, Methods) theoretically and empirically and to take a critical perspective in thinking and acting politically.
The starting point is the teaching of gender competence in political science, which enables students to understand gender as a constituted (power) structure that plays a decisive role in the development of social or political structures and processes. This involves recognising how both political science and political practice shape gender relations at various levels and the extent to which political processes, structures and content are influenced by the gender relations in which they are anchored (cf. Kurz-Scherf 2006: 244).
Initially, feminist political science was concerned with identifying the manifold interrelations of gender and politics in the various areas of society and in their historical dimensions. Today’s research perspective predominantly reflects the organisation of gender relations as a political process and their establishment as a fundamental structure of power. Equally, this perspective is based on social theory and a conception of the political that combines social gender structures with state and political action and contributes to insights into the extent to which political action and measures enable gender exploitation, violence and discrimination and what role gender structures play in the legitimacy and stability of political systems and orders.
By anchoring political questions and their scientific research approaches in social theory, feminist political science analyses central questions on the significance of social power and inequalities for the formation and constitution of political orders. In the following, feminist approaches and methodological implementations in the different areas of political science (Harders 2012: 152-154ff) are presented in brief. The divergence of theoretical perspectives that becomes visible here and the multitude of methodological approaches show that gender studies in political science can no longer be taken as a common theoretical or scientific paradigm (Rosenberger and Sauer 2004, p. 9). Rather, it is evident that feminist political science approaches discourses of mainstream and malestream political science in many ways (cf. Braun/Fuchs/Lemke/Töns 2000: VII).
The learning content gives an overview of the variety and divergence of topics, questions and research approaches in feminist political science in which the common concern is the criticism of the – mostly androcentric – foundations, premises and concepts of the discipline of political science (cf. Rosenberg/Sauer 2004: 9).
The contents, questions and research approaches of feminist political science described above reflect the potential systematic integration and consideration of the category of gender in each of the above-mentioned areas of political science can have. Nevertheless, a rather hesitant establishment of feminist perspectives in higher education in political science can still be observed today. If a distinction is made between "an explicit anchoring of gender aspects or independent gender modules" and a "cross-sectional anchoring of gender references" (Jung et al. 2010), a quite heterogeneous picture emerges for Germany: although gender references are increasingly found in the individual module descriptions, they only occur occasionally in the course descriptions of Bachelor’s and Master’s study degree courses in Germany (cf. ibid.). Implementation of feminist political science through independent gender modules is rare in political science Bachelor’s and Master’s degree courses, e.g. at the Philipps University Marburg (basic and advanced modules at Bachelor’s level (Politics and Gender Relations I and II); elective module at Master’s level (Gender Research)). In addition to a regular (political science) study degree course, it is also possible to obtain a (general) Gender Study Certificate as an additional qualification in German-speaking countries. Here, the contents of feminist political science can be integrated. The (electronic) study guide Gender in Political Science (Jung et al. 2010; see below) provides an overview and information on modularised study courses (Bachelor and Master) in political science.
At Bachelor’s level, feminist political science theory building and research can be integrated in the introductory courses and lectures, e.g. through a thematic focus on feminist theory as part of a lecture "Introduction to Political Theory", as feminist approaches to civil society as part of a seminar on "Current Theories on the Civil Society in Political Science" or as "Privacy and the Public Sphere as Hegemonic Discourses of De(gendering)" as part of introductory courses on contemporary and current democracy theories. Alternatively, seminars on gender studies in political science can be offered, e.g.: “Introduction to Feminist International Relations”, “Introduction to Feminist Democracy Theory”, “Feminist Criticism of Science and Qualitative Methods” or “Introduction to Feminist Economic Criticism”. These can be differentiated with regard to the above-mentioned areas. It is also possible to conceptualise lectures or lecture series – involving additional researchers – in which information on the integration of gender and gender relations in the scientific analysis of neighbouring disciplines are provided.
At Master's level, specific feminist political theory concepts, methodological reflections and methodological approaches can be further deepened. This can be implemented as part of the above-mentioned areas or in specific seminars on gender studies in political science. Possible topics are “Governmentality and Gender”, “Postcolonial Theories” or “Theories and Policies of European Gender Studies”.
The category of gender (and the imparting of gender competence in political science) should be systematically integrated and taken into account in each of the above-mentioned areas of Political Science.
Introductory contents of feminist political science can be implemented in the first to third semester at Bachelor's level. More in-depth study content can be part of fourth to sixth semester at Bachelor's level or be implemented at Master's level.
Braun, Kathrin, Gesine Fuchs, Christiane Lemke und Katrin Töns. 2000. Feministische Perspektiven der Politikwissenschaft. München: Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag.
Kurz-Scherf, Ingrid. 2006. Lernziel Genderkompetenz. In: Kurz-Scherf, Ingrid, Imke Dzewas, Anja Lieb und Marie Reusch, Eds. 2006. Reader Feministische Politik & Wissenschaft. Positionen, Perspektiven, Anregungen aus Geschichte und Gegenwart. Königstein/Ts.: Ulrike Helmer Verlag. S. 243-247.
Harders, Cilja. 2012. Politikwissenschaft, Politologie. In: Netzwerk Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung (Eds.): Geschlechtergerechte Akkreditierung und Qualitätssicherung – eine Handreichung. Essen. S. 152-154.
Rosenberger, Sieglinde und Birgit Sauer, Eds. 2004. Politikwissenschaft und Geschlecht. Konzepte – Verknüpfungen – Perspektiven. Wien: Facultas.
Jung, Tina, Lukas Bürger, Katja Chmilewski, Julia Garscha, Laura Hanemann und Melanie Kryst, 2010. Studienführer Gender in der Politikwissenschaft; Marburg. Online.ULR: http://www.uni-marburg.de/genderzukunft/studium/studienfuehrer-gender/studienfuehrergenderpowi [Access 09.05.2018]