Challenges of the Interdisciplinary Character of Women’s / Gender Studies – Cases of the Czech Republic, Macedonia & Turkey –

Ayten Alkan, Tijana Milosavljević-Čajetinac & Victoria Gavritova

(2007)  Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture Vol. 6, No.1, pp. 11-69.

Traditional (classical) social sciences, being established and improved in a “disciplinarily divided structure”, have been implying a particular style and way of “knowing”: That is, trying to reflect on, understand, and produce the knowledge of the society by dividing it into compartments. This perspective has itself formed a certain paradigm. Swerving from this dominant paradigm, women’s / gender studies’ claim to (or dream of) interdisciplinarity, has in fact derived from a basic conception of –academic- feminism:

“[I]nterdisciplinarity as an epistemological choice referring to the unsplitable integrity of the society, derives from a basic assertion of feminism which puts ‘gender’ as one of the main factors establishing and interpreting the societal phenomenon. In other words, the sphere named as the ‘societal’ is entirely structured and restructured by gendered relations; there is no other sphere external to this structuration –no sphere  which is not gendered, which does not comprise power through the masculine / feminine dichotomy.” (Sancar, 2003)

So, interdisciplinarity itself can be considered as a new paradigm, a new style of knowing which should bring together new epistemological / methodological ascensions –like the contest to the division of the knowing subject / object dichotomy, new institutional structures –like interdisciplinary departments, and new political formations –like the cooperation and relation between the outside and inside, between the academia and the social, between knowledge and politics.

This paper aims to trace (i) the degree and content of realization, (ii) advantages and disadvantages of such a positional contest via a comparative study of women’s and /or gender studies[1] in the Czech Republic, Macedonia and Turkey. To this end, firstly, the notions of disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity will be revised. Secondly,

–          the history of WGS’ introduction to the academia, -if so- in parallel to the improvement of feminism and women’s movement(s),

–          the existing concerned institutions / units –i.e. departments, curricula, modules, centers, and bodies inside and outside the academia in each country is outlined.

Thirdly and finally, the actual situation of WGS with regards to interdisciplinarity is evaluated.

When questioning a (or, the) scientific-academic sphere one has to take into consideration the three main aspects of scientific knowledge cumulation:

–          its history (the ways and the specific conditions of its development)

–          its philosophy (its structure, epistemology and methodology)

–          and its sociology (attitudes and values of the scientific-academic communities)

In this text, these three aspects are taken as cross cuttings of the debates of disciplinarity-interdisciplinarity, and of WGS.


[1] From now on, WGS in the text; and WS for Women’s Studies, GS for Gender Studies

Devamı için / For full Text :



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