Constituting women's interests through representative claims

Karen Celis, Sarah Childs, Johanna Kantola, Mona Lena Krook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A recent wave of gender and politics research revisits the concept of women's interests, opening up new ways of thinking about who can articulate these interests and how to avoid essentialism in empirical analysis on women's substantive representation. This article seeks to advance these debates by integrating them with new work on political theory noting that speaking for a group also entails speaking about a group. Resolving some of the tensions presenting in existing work, the revised approach expands the range of actors engaged in making claims on behalf of women and draws a conceptual distinction between issues, broad policy categories, and interests, the content given to a particular issue. The contours of this new approach are illustrated via a comparative study of claims-making on behalf of women in three countries, revealing some overlaps but also important differences in the issues raised and arguments made regarding the nature of women's interests. This inductive method avoids problems of essentialism by arguing that women and women's interests are constructed through, and not simply reflected in, political advocacy on their behalf.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-174
Number of pages26
JournalPolitics and Gender
Issue number2
Early online date20 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


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