Articles | Volume 72, issue 2
Standard article
03 May 2017
Standard article |  | 03 May 2017

Wissenschaftliche Expertise und die (Re)Produktion gesellschaftlicher Verhältnisse – Eine argumentationstheoretische Analyse von Diskursen der Ökologie- und Umweltforschung im westlichen China

Ferdinand Stenglein

Abstract. On the basis of the analysis of scientific publications on environmental issues and issues of ecology in Western China, I show in this contribution how scientific expertise can be analyzed as an order of arguments and its social embeddedness be discussed. Using the example of environmental science in Western China, an order of knowledge is reconstructed by coding techniques and the axiomatic structure of this order is micro-analytically disclosed using argumentation analysis. Subsequently, this order is discussed in relation to the social context within which it evolved. Normative representations of subjectivities, practices and spatial arrangements are produced with references to an ideal of harmony in the analyzed publications. Against the background of the contested social relations in Western China, it becomes clear that these representations are involved with a cultural recomposition and contribute to stabilizing state control and national integrity in the region and reproducing unequal social relations. The analysis shows how allegedly neutral academic knowledge implicitly (re)produces social orders and thus stresses that there can be no scientific expertise that does not take a normative position. Lastly, this raises questions on why, how and with which effects we engage in research and produce scientific knowledge.

Short summary
With this contribution I show how scientific publications on environmental issues in Western China implicitly reproduce social ideals and social relations and thus ultimately contribute to the perpetuation of existing power constellations. This stresses that there can be no scientific expertise that does not take a normative position. Accordingly, what drives me to do research is to show the political implications of academia and to contribute to making science a politico-ethical endeavor.