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

Shaw, Sylvia (2011) New parliaments, new practices? An account of gender and language in the devolved parliaments of the UK. In: Parliamentary Discourses Across Cultures: Interdisciplinary Approaches, 23-24 Sep 2011, Bucharest, Romania. . [Conference or Workshop Item]


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.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media > English Language and Literature
Item ID: 9896
Depositing User: Sylvia Shaw
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2013 10:41
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2017 14:11

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