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Photo: “Évértékelő 2020 (5)“, by Elekes Andor licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Hue modified from the original

Paternotte, David, and Mieke Verloo. “De-democratization and the politics of knowledge: Unpacking the Cultural Marxism narrative.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 28, no. 3 (2021): 556-578.


The politics of knowledge matter to the current wave of de-democratization in Europe. Building on Walby’s social complexity theory, this article highlights the dynamics between epistemic configurations and contemporary politics. Focusing on academic institutions, and taking gender studies as an illustration, this article shows that actors opposing (social) sciences and academia not only aim to dismantle existing institutions of knowledge production but also promote a new politics of truth. In this, the Cultural Marxism master frame operates as a diagnosis and a prognosis frame, providing the base for attacks on academia and for a strategy of profound transformation of the realm of knowledge in Europe.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.