Gender, Power and Institutions

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 2SK139

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Development Studies A1N, Political Science A1N
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Department Board, 13 March 2019
Responsible department
Department of Government

Entry requirements

90 credits in political science (A+B+C) or the equivalent and 30 credits in social sciences, or 90 credits in social and political studies (A+B+C) and 60 credits in political science. Proficiency in Swedish equivalent to the general entry requirements for first-cycle (Bachelor's level) studies and proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. Students within the Master's Programme in Politics and International Studies, the Master's Programme in Development Studies or the Master's Programme in Political science are required to have obtained at least 15 credits within the programme.

Learning outcomes

The course aims to give students knowledge of how to analyse political processes and policy from a gendered, new institutionalist perspective.

After completion of the course, the students are expected to:

  • On the basis of theories introduced during the course, be able to account for and critically discuss the concepts of gender, power and institutions
  • Be able to account for the difference between formal and informal institutions
  • Be able to give examples of and describe empirical gender research within the field of new institutionalism
  • Be able to write a short paper in which a political phenomena is analysed from a gendered, new institutionalist perspective


The course addresses questions, both theoretically and empirically, of how gender inequalities arises, are maintained and managed through both formal institutions (e.g. policies, rules and regulations) and informal institutions (e.g. practices, norms and ideas). The course is grounded in new institutionalist theories which have become very influential in the field of political science recently as

well as in theories from the field of gender and politics. In the theoretical part of the course, the students are introduced to basic concepts and theories about gender, power and institutions. Main focus lies on how the lens of a gendered institutionalism can help us to understand how rules, practices and norms in society are gendered. We also bring up theoretical questions concerning reproduction and change of gender inequalities. The empirical parts of the course give students concrete examples of how these concepts and theories can be used to analyse politics and policy from a gender perspective in different fields such as political representation, public policy and social policy. Some of the topics we discuss are how different kinds of institutions interact resulting in gendered consequences, the difficulty to change ideas and norms and the conditions for change towards increased gender equality.


The teaching consists of lectures and seminars. The seminars are compulsory, and there is an assignment that has to be completed in advance of each seminar. The participants are also expected to undertake independent study of the course literature, preferably before the corresponding lectures, and certainly before the seminars. The total time of study should be around 40 hours per week. The course language is English.


Examination takes place continuously throughout the course, through written and oral assignments, as well as through active participation in the seminars. At the end of the course, the students write a final course paper which will be discussed during a seminar and examined by the teacher. The course paper must deal with issues addressed during the course. The following grades will be applied: pass with distinction (VG), pass (G) and fail (U).

In order to pass the following is required:

  • The student has achieved the learning outcomes
  • The student has participated in all compulsory elements of the course
  • All the assignments have been completed and passed
  • The course paper has been handed in before the deadline and passed

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.