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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Gender, Power and Representation (PLIT10113)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines the links between gender, power and representation in global perspective. Drawing on comparative analyses and detailed case-study accounts, the course introduces students to both historical trends and the contemporary state of gender and representation around the world. Students will explore, amongst other things: the gender gap in voting patterns and political participation; the gendered dynamics of representation in political parties, legislatures and executives; the relationship between gender, the media and political campaigns; and strategies for increasing the numerical representation of women and other historically-under-represented groups in politics, including gender quotas. We will also consider what is at stake in debates over equal representation and will explore the ways in which the possibilities and constraints for political action are gendered. Whilst the focus of the course is on gender and representation, we will take an intersectional approach, and remain attentive throughout the course to the ways in which gender intersects with other structures of power.
Course description This course examines the interconnections between gender, power and representation in both historical and contemporary contexts. It is global in focus, examining patterns of political participation and representation across a wide range of countries and regions, whilst also delving into in-depth case studies of the gendered dynamics of political power in political parties, legislatures and executives in particular contexts.

Throughout the course, we will examine the problems and questions raised by the issues of gender, power and political representation. When we speak about the "under-representation of women" and other groups, what visions of representation are we invoking and with what attendant problems and expectations? What does gender have to do with it? Do "supply" or "demand" factors best account for the relatively few women in political life? How can we account for variation across political parties and political systems? What role does gender play in the representation of politicians in the media? What strategies can we (and should we) use to achieve equal representation? And (why) does it matter?

Whilst we focus in particular on gender dynamics and global trends in the course, we will also pay attention to intersectionality and heterogeneity throughout, assessing the ways in which gender intersects with other structures of power, including race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and disability.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who lack the compulsory pre-requisites but have completed comparable courses should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Quota Policy Report: 40%. 2000 words. A policy briefing where students will be asked to analyse the origins and impact of gender quotas in the country of their choice, using primary and secondary sources (drawing in particular on the Global Database of Quotas for Women).

Essay: 60%. 3000 words. From a choice of questions, which will relate to one or more of the weekly lecture topics.

Detailed written guidance for each of the assessments will be offered in the course guide and discussed in class.
Feedback All assignments will be returned with feedback within 15 working days of submission. Students will also receive weekly formative comments from the teaching team on their 1-page reading summaries.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify and critically evaluate patterns of gender, political participation and representation on local, national and global scales.
  2. Compare and contrast different explanations for men┬┐s descriptive over-representation and evaluate different strategies to increase the representation of women and other under-represented groups.
  3. Show a critical understanding of feminist theories of representation, including the relationship between descriptive, substantive and symbolic representation.
  4. Apply theoretical gender debates and practical tools to real-world issues.
  5. Developed research and analytical skills that facilitate independent learning.
Reading List
Dahlerup, D. (2006) Women, Quotas and Politics. London: Routledge.
Escobar-Lemmon, M.C. and M.M. Taylor-Robinson (eds) (2014) Representation: The Case of Women. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lovenduski, J. (2005) Feminizing Politics. Cambridge: Polity.
Paxton, P. and M. Hughes (2017) Women, Politics and Power: A Global Perspective. London: Sage.
Waylen, G., Celis, K., Kantola, J. and S.L. Weldon (2013) The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills By the end of the course, students should have strengthened their skills in:
1. Communication and Research - analysing evidence and using this to develop and support a line of argument in written and oral work;
2. Critical Analysis - comparing, contrasting and evaluating different arguments in the work of other authors;
3. Project Management - working independently and as part of groups, prioritizing objectives, and working to deadlines;
4. IT - locating material online, using online databases, LEARN and other online resources.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Sarah Childs
Course secretaryMr Ian McClory
Tel: (0131 6)50 3932
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