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Gender, Institutions and Party Politics: Concepts, Theories and Future Directions

Parties and elections
Methodology
EDI25
Elin Bjarnegård
Uppsala Universitet
Meryl Kenny
University of Edinburgh

Building: Appleton Tower, Floor: 2, Room: 2.14

Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00 (19/04/2022)

Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00 (20/04/2022)

Thursday 09:00 - 17:00 (21/04/2022)

Friday 09:00 - 17:00 (22/04/2022)


The field of political party research is continually evolving in relation to changes in the organisations that party scholars study: political parties (Gauja and Kosiara-Pedersen 2021). One of the most significant changes that political parties have adapted to in the past three decades is the feminisation of politics – that is, the political integration of women and women’s policy concerns (Lovenduski and Norris 1993; Norris and Lovenduski 1995; Lovenduski 2005; Kittilson 2006). In seeking to understand these dynamics, scholars have increasingly drawn upon the insights of feminist institutionalism to excavate the ways in which gender shapes the structures, practices and rules of party politics (both formal and informal), and its intersection with other axes of power (Kenny and Verge 2015, 2016; Verge and Claveria 2018; Adams and Smrek 2018; Bjarnegård and Zetterberg 2019; Josefsson 2020; Gatto and Wylie 2021). Yet, despite these trends, the wider literature on political parties often continues to treat ‘mainstream’ party research and gender party research as belonging to two separate sub-fields, hindering the conceptualisation and empirical evaluation of parties. This workshop seeks to fill this gap, bridging the intersection between gender politics and party politics scholarship, which have tended to talk past, rather than to, each other. Nearly 30 years from the publication of Joni Lovenduski and Pippa Norris’s (1993) foundational volume on Gender and Party Politics (Sage), this workshop seeks to identify the gaps in existing theories and concepts used to study party politics; to outline how to better incorporate gendered and intersectional insights into these frameworks; to develop new gender-specific concepts; and to highlight innovative theoretical, methodological and empirical directions for researching the relationship between gender and political parties. As the field of party politics scholarship has become more specialised and fragmented, it has arguably lost some of its previous focus on ‘bigger picture’ questions around power and the role of parties in representative democracy (see relevant critiques in van Biezen and Saward 2008 and Gauja and Kosiara-Pedersen 2021). This workshop therefore seeks to move beyond the (still important) goal of investigating specific substantive areas of gender and party politics – for example, the adoption and implementation of gender quotas – to consider how the ‘big questions’ of party politics scholarship are themselves gendered, and with what effect – engaging centrally with these larger political questions around power, representation, democracy and accountability. The goal is therefore to make research on party politics better account for the realities and institutional complexities of gender as a category and as a process; to engage with established and emerging concepts and theories in party politics scholarship and strengthen our tools for analysis; and in doing so, contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between gender and political parties and the dynamics of stability and change. While the focus of the workshop is on gender, given the large body of established and emerging research in this area, we will ask participants to remain attentive to intersectional dynamics throughout.

We would encourage contributions from established and early career scholars working on gender and political parties. The proposed Workshop Organisers (Kenny and Bjarnegård) are well-established mid-career scholars, who have published widely on gender and party politics and are experienced at conference and workshop organisation. They will make use of their networks to solicit contributions through existing ECPR Standing Groups on Political Parties and Gender and Politics; the Feminism and Institutionalism International Network (FIIN) which the Workshop Organisers are Co-Directors of; as well as wider comparative party projects like the Political Parties Database Project, MAPP, V-Party and others. The workshop organisers were planning on organising a panel on gender, institutions and party politics at the International Political Science Association’s conference in 2020, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. Although the panel never took place, we received a lot of interesting proposals and could use it as a way to gauge interest in the topic. We would welcome theoretically, methodologically and empirically-focused paper contributions. This includes papers that engage with and seek to gender classic and new concepts and theories in the field – including, but not limited to, papers focusing on party systems and competition; party organisation; intra-party democracy; populism; clientelism; the selection of candidates and leaders; campaigning and party finance. We also welcome papers that outline new or innovative approaches to the study of gender and party politics, including case study and ethnographic research; mixed methods research; as well as larger quantitative studies. We anticipate wide interest in the workshop, given the rapid expansion of the field of gender and party politics in recent years – evidenced, for example, in recent special issues on gender and internal party regulation (van Biezen and Rashkova 2013); party politics (Celis et al. 2016); candidate selection (Kenny and Verge 2015, 2016); political ambition (Piscopo and Kenny 2020); conservative parties (Celis and Childs 2018); women’s parties (Cowell-Meyers et al. 2020); and populist parties (Kantola and Lombardo 2020), amongst others. We particularly welcome contributions which move beyond the traditional focus of party scholarship on North America and Western Europe – including comparative work across different countries and regime types. We also welcome papers that look beyond the national level, investigating sub-national or transnational party dynamics – for example, building on the growing body of work on gender and European Parliament (EP) party groups (e.g. Kantola and Rolandsen-Agustín 2016). While the focus of the workshop is on gender, we would ask paper proposals to be attentive to both relational dynamics of gender (including masculinities), and intersectional dynamics of power. We anticipate that a key outcome of the workshop would be a tightly connected edited volume – organised around thematic chapters focused on gendering key concepts, theories and debates, whilst also drawing on new methodological approaches and empirical research. This would fill a significant gap, nearly thirty years on from Lovenduski and Norris’s foundational volume – in terms of collectively developing and taking forward a systematic and integrated approach to the study of gender, institutions and parties.

Title Details
Party Politics and Abortion Policy: Electoral Competition and Non-Programmatic Party Strategies in Subnational Mexico View Paper Details
Ambition Management: How Gender Quotas Disrupt Career Progression Across Multiple Levels of Elected Office View Paper Details
How political violence genders representation View Paper Details
The Roots of Resistance: How Party Logics Shape Resistance to Gender Quotas View Paper Details
The leaking pipeline of politics: Understanding gendered dropout of politicians View Paper Details
Gendered candidate selection in sectarian countries: the Case of Lebanon. View Paper Details
What a Selectorate Wants, What a Selectorate Needs: Candidate Selection Strategy and its Impact on Women’s Representation View Paper Details
Between party democracy and parity democracy: What the implementation of gender quotas teaches us about the tradeoff between intraparty democracy and parties’ role in democratic political systems View Paper Details
Gendered Vulnerabilities: Parties as Perpetrators of Political Violence in Mexico View Paper Details
When All Systems Change: Party System Change and Women’s Political Representation in Italy View Paper Details
Democratic Centralism and the Ideal Revolutionary: Women's Belonging and Self-making in the Gendered Institutional Culture of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) View Paper Details
Inclusivity vs. Representativity: Do party members compile (un)representative candidate lists; and what to make of it? View Paper Details
Are Party Primaries a Panacea for Female Political Representation in New Democracies? Evidence from Malawi View Paper Details
Reimagining political parties View Paper Details
Incumbency and the role of parties in re-election View Paper Details
What women want: Mapping the issue concerns of women’s parties in Europe, 1990-2020. View Paper Details
Explaining Women Party Leaders' Duration in Office in Advanced Democracies View Paper Details
Beyond critical mass: Gender effects in social networks of German state MPs View Paper Details