PANKRATOV S.A., PANKRATOVA L.S., Fokina O.A. “The Soft Power” of European Universities: Gender and Sexuality Policies

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.2.15 

Sergey A. Pankratov

Doctor of Sciences (Politics), Professor, Head of the Department of International Relations, Political Science and Area Studies,

Volgograd State University, Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1733-730X 

Liliia S. Pankratova

Candidate of Sciences (Sociology), Senior Lecturer,

Department of Sociology of Culture and Communication, St. Petersburg University,

Universitetskaya Emb., 7-9, 199034 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7658-1409 

Olga A. Fokina

Candidate of Sciences (Pedagogy), Associate Professor,

Department of International Relations, Political Science and Area Studies, Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6356-8224  


Abstract. Introduction. 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.

Key words: sexuality, gender, sexual policy, gender policy, cultural sexual scripts, Overton window, “soft power”.

Citation. Pankratov S.A., Pankratova L.S., Fokina O.A. “The Soft Power” of European Universities: Gender and Sexuality Policies. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 213-222. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.2.15.

Лицензия Creative Commons

“The Soft Power” of European Universities: Gender and Sexuality Policies by Pankratov S.A., Pankratova L.S., Fokina O.A. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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