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Gender studies ban seen as a misunderstanding

August 29th, 2018

A left-wing sociologist suggests that the planned ban on gender studies courses is a result of rivalries within the academe rather than of ideological feuds.

In Népszava, Pál Tamás thinks both the supporters and the critics of the planned ban on gender studies courses (See BudaPost August 15) profoundly misunderstand  the nature of the conflict. Universities produce an unprecedented number of MA and PhD graduates who find it increasingly difficult to find jobs in higher education. Most of them are women, while leading posts are still typically occupied by (elderly) men. Gender studies on the other hand, is a field overwhelmingly dominated by women and is therefore an important channel for academic careers for the ‘female academic workforce’, the sociologist writes. He compares the current conflict to the elimination of social anthropology classes in 2016. The reason was that they were becoming increasingly popular, while traditional ethnography classes attracted fewer and fewer students. On that occasion, ethnography professors proved more influential. Tamás thinks something similar must be happening around gender studies: ‘inter-academy scuffles, rather than the views of the Prime Minister, should be sought in the background’, he writes. Growing or increasingly popular courses ‘are usually under attack from their competitors’.