New parliaments, new practices? An account of gender and language in the devolved parliaments of the UK

Conference paper


Shaw, S. 2011. New parliaments, new practices? An account of gender and language in the devolved parliaments of the UK. Parliamentary Discourses Across Cultures: Interdisciplinary Approaches. Bucharest, Romania 23 - 24 Sep 2011
TypeConference paper
TitleNew parliaments, new practices? An account of gender and language in the devolved parliaments of the UK
AuthorsShaw, S.
Abstract

This paper considers language, gender and women’s participation in the ‘new’ devolved parliaments of the UK. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were formed in the late 1990s as part of the UK’s devolution programme. Unlike the House of Commons at Westminster, these parliaments were designed with egalitarian ideals to the fore, and included women in all aspects of planning, design and implementation from the beginning.
Ethnographic interviews with politicians from these institutions reveal contradictory and often competing accounts of gender and linguistic participation which interact in complex ways with multiple aspects of politicians’ identities, such as seniority, political party and nationalism. However, politicians in the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales agree that these new debating chambers are ‘neither male nor female’, and feel that in these chambers men and women participate equally.
Taking this as a starting point I attempt to ask whether ‘new’ linguistic practices in these institutions (that depart from the ‘model’ of Westminster debates) contribute towards the construction of an egalitarian ethos within the chambers. Using both interview data and discourse analytic techniques to analyse debate proceedings I attempt to identify particular aspects of parliamentary discourse that may contribute to an inclusive and egalitarian culture in debates.

Research GroupEnglish Language and Literature
ConferenceParliamentary Discourses Across Cultures: Interdisciplinary Approaches
Publication dates
Print23 Sep 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Jan 2013
Output statusPublished
LanguageEnglish
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