Gender, Power and Institutions

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 2SK139

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, 31 May 2023
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 English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6. Students within 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 provide students with the 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 phenomenon is analyzed from a gendered, new institutionalist perspective



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 people with different identities and backgrounds. 

Based on new institutional theory, 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 public debate.

In the theoretical parts, the course introduces basic concepts and theories about gender, politics 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 importance of other social identities is also, to some extent, considered. 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 and policy formation and impact. Examples are taken from Sweden but also from other geographical contexts.


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 session. 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 seminar assignments and the course paper have been completed and passed

If there are special reasons, the examiner may make exceptions to the specified examination method and allow a student to be examined in a different way. Special reasons can e.g. be notification of special educational support from the university's coordinator.