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Identity Politics: Participatory Research and Its Challenges Related to Social and Epistemic Control

Böschen, Stefan; Legris, Martine; Pfersdorf, Simon; Stahl, Bernd Carsten


Stefan Böschen

Martine Legris

Simon Pfersdorf


Over the past 20 years, the participation of laypersons or representatives of civil society has become a guiding principle in processes of research and innovation. There is now a significant literature discussing collaboration between civil society organisations (CSOs) and researchers, with two interesting gaps. Firstly, the fact that research is mainly conducted within projects is often underestimated, although the format significantly frames knowledge production. Secondly, researchers and civil society organisations are closely related to their respective communities. We argue that this constellation–of project-related format, in combination with a strong relationship to communities–results in conflicts that express and lead to identity politics. The analysis is based on conceptual considerations as well as empirical findings, which were developed within the EC-funded CONSIDER project (2012–2015). It can be shown that identity politics is performed by socio-epistemic tactics, which are used to order the socially as well as epistemically hybrid space within projects. To explain differences in conflict intensity, we suggest the distinction between weakly tied and strongly tied identity politics. In sum, identity politics can be seen as one key element for social as well as epistemic control in transdisciplinary research projects.


Böschen, S., Legris, M., Pfersdorf, S., & Stahl, B. C. (2020). Identity Politics: Participatory Research and Its Challenges Related to Social and Epistemic Control. Social Epistemology, 34(4), 382-394.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 21, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 21, 2020
Publication Date Jul 3, 2020
Deposit Date Jan 1, 2023
Journal Social Epistemology
Print ISSN 0269-1728
Electronic ISSN 1464-5297
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 4
Pages 382-394
Keywords General Social Sciences; Philosophy
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