Lecture of Prof. Dr Marina Blagojević Hughson “Gender equality and knowledge production: Hierarchies of Exclusion”

The key note presentation “Gender equality and knowledge production: Hierarchies of Exclusion” had three parts. In the first part, Prof. Dr. Marina Hughson set up a scene for the issue of gender equality in higher education in Serbia, going beyond statistics, and showing the state of the art research and policy in that domain. In the second part, Prof. Dr. Hughson offered a broader theoretical perspective on a set of exclusions which create dominant hierarchies in academia, internationally and nationally (within Serbia). She claimed, that contrary to the ideal of meritocracy, scientific and academic systems are mainly created in a spirit of exclusions, and that present day global and transna-tional flows are increasing exclusions, rather than decreasing. Therefore, those hierarchies are “hierarchies of exclusions” and they dominantly shape organizational power, knowledge production and policy making to which academia is linked. Within such a context of “competition with limited meritocracy”, all “vulnerable” or “minority” groups suffer from additional risks of exclusions, including women. Finally, Prof. Dr. Blagojević gave some concrete examples of how exclusion of gender as a research dimension and the lack of knowledge on gender issues, create three types of negative consequences: firstly, perpetuation of “old boys networks” in academia and exclusion of women, which cancels meritocracy; secondly, bad scholarship limited by androcentricism (where gender is not addressed, or when it is simply “added” without in depth analyses and critical thinking); and finally, dead-end and failure when dealing with the most fundamental problems of social and economic develop-ment of Serbia. The conclusion is that gender equality in academia, and within the broader sense of knowledge production, is inseparable from development of critical thinking, diversity, cooperation and meritocracy in science, as well as from constructive and progressive development policies.

Prof. Dr. Marina Blagojević Hughson was a sociologist, a gender scholar and a gender expert, as well as an activist. She had 30 years of academic research experience in the field of women and gender studies, and 15 years of experience in gender related policies, on national and international level. Prof. Dr. Blagojević Hughson was one of the leaders of the women ́s movement in Serbia in the 90`s, co-founder of Women ́s Party Žest, and co-founder of the first Women ́s Study Centre in post-socialist Europe (in 1992), in Belgrade, as well as co-founder of the first academic programme in Eastern Europe on women and society, at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade in 1992. She was President of the Serbian Sociological Association, President of the Feminist Section of that Association (Section for Feminist Research and Critical Studies on Masculinities), and a member of GEXcel International Collegium in Sweden. Prof. Dr. Blagojević had published extensively on women professionals, rural women, gender, masculinities, migrations, everyday life, parenthood, knowledge production etc. Her latest books include: Knowledge Pro-duction at The Semiperiphery: A Gender Perspective (2009), The Semi-periphery and Gender: The Rebellion of the Context (2015), Tomorrow was Yesterday: Contribution to Social History of Women in Yugoslavia in the Second Part of the 20th Century (2015), Men in Serbia: The Other Side of Gender In/equality (2017).