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From feminism to class politics: the rise and decline of women's politics in Reykjavík 1908-1922
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
1998 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main objective of this dissertation is to seek answers to three questions: 1) Why did it take so much longer for women than men to win the vote? 2) Why did it take women so long to be elected in any numbers to national legislatures?, and 3) What has been the political significance of women's entry into national legislatures? The answers are sought by examining an aspect of the development of parties ignored by most political scientists, namely the relationship between women's suffrage, party politics and patriarchal power. An empirical study on Iceland is used to examine this aspect in detail. In the period 1908- 1926, women in Iceland ran separate lists at local and national elections. The fate of the women's lists in Reykjavik is explored and so are the policies of women councillors. Iceland was not the only country to see the emergence of separate women's political organizations that ran candidates at elections. The outcome was nowhere as successful as in Iceland. Through the rise, and decline, of the women's lists and women's policies in Reykjavik, the factors that allowed women to carry out their own maternalistic politics within a male-run system are illuminated.

The dissertation draws on numerous theories and postulations within political science. It also challenges many of them. Theda Skocpol's structured policy approach proves highly useful in examining the larger political environment and factors that stimulated or hindered women's politics and policies in Reykjavik. The approach does not, however, account for male power as a force on its own. The structured policy approach is challenged by providing another important factor, the role of individuals and their ideas as a political force. The conclusion is that patriarchal theories are needed within political science, and it is suggested that political parties, their origin and working methods, provide excellent starting points from which to examine male power, or patriarchy, as a political force of its own.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1998. , 218 p.
Forskningsrapporter i statsvetenskap vid Umeå universitet, ISSN 0349-0831 ; 1998:6
Keyword [en]
women, women's movements, women's lists, women in local governments, structured policy approach, neo-institutionalism, patriarchal theories, parties, Reykjavik, Iceland
National Category
Political Science Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-65810OAI: diva2:604689
Available from: 2013-02-12 Created: 2013-02-12 Last updated: 2013-02-12Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA