29 November 2018:
Kasia Kaczmarska, Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University, presents her research on knowledge about international politics in Russia. Using tools in the sociology of knowledge and science, she studies the links between academic knowledge about international relations and foreign policy practice.
In this talk she describes the role of IR expertise and the academia-policy nexus in contemporary Russia. Drawing on interviews with Russia-based scholars, Kasia suggests that while there exist some formal channels of knowledge diffusion between academia and the state, there is no clear-cut relationship between knowledge produced in academia and the uses of this knowledge by the state. Two trends can be identified in the relationship between academic community and the policy-making world. On the one hand, authorities expect Russian universities to upgrade their position in international rankings and partake in global intellectual exchanges, the education and publishing market. On the other, the academic community perceives that professional expertise in international relations, and social sciences more broadly, is not valued by policy practitioners. Scholars’ attitudes towards policy impact, while generally skeptical, span a broad spectrum. Some are convinced that achieving impact is impossible, some declare unwillingness to interact with the policy-making world, while others find providing expert advice difficult but possible under certain conditions.