The aim of this article is to explore the conceptualisation of benchmarking, ranking and good practice sharing tools within European Union gender equality policymaking. In the first part, the article looks at these soft law measures applied within intergovernmental cooperation. Stemming from the extensive body of literature, the study approaches these measures as a form of scientific knowledge, which is diversely applied within policymaking. Next, the article directs various points of criticism at these policymaking tools through different variables that may hinder knowledge use. The second section of this article further focuses on the Open Method of Coordination and the role of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in relation to gender equality policies. The empirical part of this article is focused on the criticism of EIGE’s External Evaluation Report and the different conceptualisations of scientific knowledge use which are presented within this audit document. As such, this article aims to contribute to a new conceptualisation of the technocratic tools of benchmarking, ranking and good practice sharing within the highly ideological area of gender equality policies.
The paper focuses on the discursive framing of drug users and sex workers as subjects of public space governance within the process of local policymaking. The core of this study analyses the non-governmental organisation OZ Odyseus grant application for a harm reduction programme and a subsequent debate of the Municipal Council Members of the Bratislava city district – Nové Mesto. The aim of the meeting and the debate was to approve funding for numerous social projects, including a fieldwork-oriented organisation OZ Odyseus, which provides harm reduction in numerous city districts of Bratislava. The analysis disclosed the application of specific subject positioning frames, which conceptualise drug users and sex workers as ‘out of place’, anti-social and not members of a local community. Results of the study point to the conceptualisation of (commercial) public space as ‘stolen from the normal people’ and the need for spatial segregation of sex workers and drug users in order to reclaim and revitalise it.