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Palgrave Macmillan

Gender and Political Recruitment

Theorizing Institutional change

ISBN 9781137271921
Publication Date May 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Gender and Politics

Political parties can make or break women's attempts to stand for political office, yet there have been surprisingly few systematic studies into the 'secret garden' of political recruitment. This book investigates this under-researched area, bringing together insights from feminist and new institutional theory to explore and understand the gendered dynamics of institutional innovation and change in candidate selection and recruitment. Drawing on an original empirical case study of candidate selection in post-devolution Scotland, Gender and Political Recruitment highlights the complex and gendered dynamics of institutional design, continuity and change in the political recruitment process and illustrates the difficulties of reforming recruitment in the face of powerful institutional and gendered legacies.

Meryl Kenny is Vice-Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Her research on feminist institutionalism and women and politics has appeared in journals such as Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Politics & Gender, International Political Science Review, Politics, and several edited volumes.

List of Tables and Figures
List of Abbreviations and Acronyms
1. Introduction
2. Gender, Institutions and Political Recruitment
3. A Feminist Institutionalist Approach
4. Political Recruitment in Post-Devolution Scotland
5. Breaking With the Past? The Case of the Labour Party
6. The Story of a Selection
7. Applying a Feminist Institutionalist Lens
8. Rethinking Political Recruitment


'Rethinking the conventional supply-and-demand model of political recruitment, Gender and Political Recruitment represents a seminal contribution to the emerging literature on feminist institutionalism. Combining macro- and micro-level data on candidate selection dynamics in Scotland, Kenny provides a nuanced and critical appraisal of the prospects for reforming institutions in the face of powerful gendered legacies. The book thus offers important new insights to institutionalist scholars, feminist research, and – most importantly – those interested in forging new syntheses across these approaches.'— Mona Lena Krook, Associate Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University, USA
'Meryl Kenny's book demonstrates the extent to and ways in which processes of political recruitment are gendered. She provides both evidence and argument of such gendering to be a continuing process that interacts with the formal and informal political institutions through which processes of political recruitment operate. Her analysis demonstrates the crucial importance of feminist institutionalist approaches to the understanding of how political representation is gendered.'— Joni Lovenduski FBA, Anniversary Professor of Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK
'In this brilliant debut, Meryl Kenny combines conceptual innovation, forensic analysis, and compelling story-telling to capture the gendered dynamics of the institutions of political recruitment. Gender and Political Recruitment demonstrates the considerable promise of a feminist institutionalist approach for not only gender and politics scholars but also for 'mainstream' political science. It should be required reading for anyone engaged with, or intrigued by, the gendered puzzles of political recruitment and the wider dynamics of inequality in political life.'— Fiona Mackay, Professor of Politics, University of Edinburgh, UK
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