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Intersectional Puzzles: Understanding Inclusion and Equality in Political Recruitment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 December 2015

Karen Celis
Affiliation:
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Silvia Erzeel
Affiliation:
Université Catholique de Louvain
Liza Mügge
Affiliation:
University of Amsterdam

Extract

Feminist scholars have developed a solid research agenda on gender equality in politics. This scholarship is built on the conviction that equitable representation of men and women is fundamental to the functioning of representative democracies (Mansbridge 1999; Norris and Lovenduski 1995). In order to comply with the intersectional research paradigm, gender and politics scholars have increasingly focused on other discriminatory mechanisms and how these relate to gender. Marginalized or privileged positions based on gender, ethnicity, race, class, or age are conceived not as “swinging free” from each other, but as interacting (Hancock 2007). Consequently, a group can be privileged in one context but disadvantaged in another depending on historical structures and contexts. Such an intersectional approach raises new questions about the meaning of political equality (Mügge 2013; Mügge and De Jong 2013). For instance, to what extent is women's sheer numerical presence an indicator for political equality if that presence is a marker of inclusion as well as exclusion? This contribution focuses on political recruitment and the question of whether inclusion fosters equality. Drawing on our ongoing research on Belgium and the Netherlands, we argue that an intersectional analysis of recruitment is indispensable to capture the nature of inclusion and exclusion and therefore to the understanding of political equality.

Type
Critical Perspectives on Gender and Politics
Copyright
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2015 

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References

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