Gender, Power and Institutions

15 credits

Course, Master's level, 2SK139

Spring 2024 Spring 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English

Spring 2024 Spring 2024, Uppsala, 100%, On-campus, English For exchange students

About the course

Still, today, gender and social background are important for individuals' opportunities and conditions in politics and society. For example, women and minority groups are underrepresented in political assemblies and in top positions, women in politics are exposed to more violence than men, and in addition, the content of politics has been largely influenced by men's interests.

Understanding how unequal conditions in politics and society arise are maintained and change is of great importance to both researchers and practitioners interested in equality issues. This course offers tools to understand and analyse how formal rules and laws, as well as informal norms and practices, create different conditions and possibilities for individuals. In particular, we will focus on how policy change and effective implementation come about in gender equality issues.

Based on new institutional theory, which has become very influential in political science, as well as theories about gender and power, the course provides both a solid theoretical orientation in these issues and a number of empirical examples from current research and social debate.

In the theoretical parts, the course introduces basic concepts and theories about gender, power and institutions. The main focus is on how these perspectives can help us understand how the "rules of the game", i.e. rules, practices and norms in society are gendered in different ways (formally and informally). The interaction with other social identities is also taken into account to some extent. We also address theoretical questions about the reproduction of gender inequalities and what obstacles and opportunities exist for political change.

In the empirical parts of the course, we give concrete examples from current research on how concepts and theories can be used to analyse politics from a gender perspective in various areas such as political representation, policy formation and the working conditions for politicians. Among other things, we address the following questions: Why are women and minorities disadvantaged in electoral processes? How can equality reforms, such as same-sex marriage or quotas, be introduced but also undermined by strong opposition? Do the conditions look the same for elected women and men in politics? In what way has social media become an arena for anti-feminism and sexism? Examples are taken from Sweden but also from other geographical contexts including the global south.