The project seeks to explore the interplay of valuation and inequalities in science, using the interdisciplinary and planet-critical field of forest research as empirical case. It examines which/whose knowledge is recognised on what grounds, and how social dimensions like gender and geographical location impact on scholars’ social and epistemic positions. Therefore, the project combines bibliometric and ethnographic methods with comparative content analysis of scientific publications captured in a ‘global’ and country-specific databases of forest research (with a focus on South Africa and Tanzania) that will be compiled as part of the study.
Drawing on sociology of science and scientometrics, valuation studies, post-colonial and feminist scholarship, the study links hitherto disparate perspectives to enhance the understanding why imbalances in the social structure of global academia persist, which is a crucial precondition for overcoming them. While focusing on forest science and addressing its community for a joint reflection of results, the project will contribute to science studies by generating in-depth findings on inequality from a hitherto underexplored field. The African-European team seeks to provide essential input for on-going debates, such as on how to foster knowledge diversity for sustainable development and inclusivity as a principle of responsible research.
In-Forest is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
February 2022-January 2026
Inequality; gender; diversity; forest research; mixed methods; knowledge diversity
Stellenbosch University, Tanzania Forestry Research Institute, Technical University of Munich
Rodrigo Costas, Jonathan Dudek