Displacement through Feminist Reconstruction of Diverse Parliaments

Dr. Jackie F. Steele

The tactic of displacement through feminist reconstruction of diverse parliaments has been led by diverse scholars and practitioner-activists who aim to displace and decentre the fictional abstract political representative underpinning modern representative democracy by forcing, through the use of various electoral gender quota designs for candidates and elected officials, new practices of power-sharing across gender, but also other pertinent fault lines of politicized identity generating social exclusion. Within the women/politics and gender/politics political science communities, some of these feminist scholars are best situated within an “equality politics” strategy that still aims primarily for the “inclusion of women in parliaments.”

Others within these feminist political science and feminist practitioner communities are more disruptively working towards a “displacement strategy” that aims to overturn the symbolic political power and authority invested in hegemonic male/patriarchal “bodies,” among other marginalized social groups, by legally forcing or voluntaristically nudging political parties towards a diversification of elected officials (Childs, 2016; Childs and Celis, 2020; Hughes, 2011; Mansbridge, 1999; Philips, 1993; Steele, 2006; Williams, 1998; Young, 2000). Depending on the technical build out, these electoral systems design s can ensure more egalitarian power-sharing and a sustainable performance of gender-balanced voice and seats held in parliament that will once and for all displace patriarchal practices of male homo social gatekeeping, clientelism, and nepotism (Bjarnegard, 2013). The idea is to see parliaments and representative institutions yield more diverse political leadership and thereby ensure more responsive legislation and policies that generate substantive equality and greater equity for an intersectionally diverse population.

While these legal and legislation-focused iterations of intersectional feminisms seek a displacement of oppressive hierarchies that structure the legal norms regulating public policy, and the symbolic legislators for the political community, the focus on law reform advocacy and the role of parliamentarians as lawmakers stops just shy of a full displacement of what our final variant sees as the problem, namely liberal individualism’s impoverished reading of political liberty itself.


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Political Ideologies and Worldviews: An Introduction Copyright © 2021 by Dr. Jackie F. Steele is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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