During her digital disputation on 15 October, Seibicke excellently defended her doctoral research when examined by the adjudication committee, consisting of associate professors Pauline Cullen (Maynooth University) and Sara Kalm (Lund University).
In her thesis, Helena Seibicke examines the interplay between advocacy and expertise-provision in a civil society organisation, namely the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) – the largest and most prominent umbrella organisation representing women’s interests at the European level.
“Civil society organisations are supposed to link citizens to the European institutions and represent their members in expertise-based policymaking processes. But too little is known about how the requirement for expertise shapes these groups,” Seibicke explains.
Most existing literature conceptualises civil society actors as expertise-seekers rather than expertise-providers. Using the EWL, Helena Seibicke challenges this narrow view and proposes a widened conception of ‘expertise’ and expertise-providers in order to allow for the analysis of the ‘epistemic dimension’ of interest intermediation.
In doing so, Seibicke is able to empirically trace the production, exchange, and application of gender expertise in EU governance, as well as developing the theoretical approach of ‘knowledge in civil society’.
Her thesis focuses on the engagement of gender advocates in EU governance to illuminate how gender policymaking generates a requirement for expertise and specialized knowledge, and how the EWL has adapted to this requirement: the EWL self identifies as an expert organisation and its gender expertise is one of its central organisational resources.
For more about Seibicke’s doctoral research, watch her trial lecture, “What future role is there for a feminist civil society in Europe?”.
Congratulations, Dr. Seibicke!