Feminist Institutionalist Approaches in Practice

Panel Code

Feminist political scientists have been developing Feminist Institutionalism (FI) for more than a decade as an approach to expose, analyse and address the gendered power dynamics of political institutions and the formal and informal rules that underpin them. FI is novel in its synthetic approach, bringing together institutionalist tools and gender analysis. But what does FI research mean in practice? How do researchers operationalise key concepts? What methodological tool-kits do they employ to solve these gendered institutional puzzles? What cases have been worked on, and to what effect? These linked roundtables - Feminist Institutionalist (FI) Approaches in Practice: "Fieldnotes" and "Methods" - provide the opportunity for researchers to share experiences from the field, to discuss the practical and theoretical challenges of doing research on gendered institutions, to highlight the pros and cons of different methods, and to reflect on the achievements and shortfalls to date as well as set out the future challenges and potential new directions for FI in practice. The roundtables will comprise a mix of established and early career researchers, and empirical cases from the Global South and Global North. The "Fieldnotes" Roundtable will focus primarily on empirical cases of gendered institutions, continuity and change including: gendered reform dynamics in the UK House of Commons; gendered practices candidate re-nomination processes in PR systems; the accommodation of Sharia Law in Australia, Canada and the UK; the creation and early days of new gender policy machinery in the United Nations, and the role of gendered ideas in the reform of prostitution policy in Sweden.
The "Methods" Roundtable will focus primarily on the promise and dilemmas of different methodological tool kits and methods for FI including: visual methods, process tracing, the ethical dilemmas of interviews; the scope for behavioural “nudge” approaches for feminist political science; practical strategies for excavating informal gender rules in male-dominated environments, and frameworks for operationalizing “rules in use”. The examples range from tackling gender based violence in the Pacific region to the ethical dilemmas of “critical feminist friends” in the international system.