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Title: Women and cabinet government in Ireland : place, presence, performance
Author: Buckley, Fiona May
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 0011
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis sets out to move beyond descriptive accounts of the gendered nature of cabinet government to present a more substantive enquiry illuminating the gendered culture and gender power arrangements inherent in this institution. A feminist institutional study, the core focus of the thesis is to assess the influence of gender power arrangements on the potential for generating or resisting institutional change in cabinet government in Ireland. To investigate this question it is necessary to identify the gender culture of cabinet government in Ireland, and pay particular attention to how the male gender norms of cabinet government inform the dynamics of cabinet recruitment, portfolio allocation, ministerial involvement and presence. In so doing it identifies the impact of institutional gendered norms, practices and power arrangements on the political subjectivities of cabinet ministers (specifically women ministers) as well as how conformity to these institutional gender norms inhibits transformational institutional change. Cognisant of the informal dimensions of cabinet government formation and operation, this study is interested in learning about the institution's inner or so-called “hidden life" (Chappell and Waylen, 2013), in particular the gendered norms and the gender power bases at play. Overall the study reveals how gender manifests itself through cabinet government in Ireland, acting as a contributor as well as an attribute of institutional power. The central question of this thesis asks: do gender power arrangements within cabinet government in Ireland insulate against transformative institutional change as a result of women's presence? In addressing this question the thesis firstly examines the gendered nature of cabinet government in Ireland, producing a set of descriptive statistics as well as drawing from semi-structured interviews to illuminate the informal gender norms that guide cabinet recruitment and appointment. Secondly it examines gender performance to outline how women ministers conform to the predominant masculinist norms of cabinet government. Finally it examines the presence of women in cabinet government, focusing on the intersection and interaction of women as gendered beings within the male-gendered domain of cabinet government to uncover a series of gender dynamics that act as (gender) powerful processes inhibiting institutional change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available