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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Construction of Womanhood in a Campaign Training Program for Women: A Discourse Analysis
by Cutler, Haley, M.A., Prescott College, 2015, 49; 1605873
Abstract (Summary)

Women are underrepresented in public office throughout the United States. Candidate recruitment and training are understood to be crucial interventions for increasing women’s representation in elected leadership (Rozzell, 2000; Carroll & Sanbonmatsu, 2009; Carroll & Sanbonmatsu, 2010). In response to this need, campaign programs for women have become increasingly prevalent across the country. However, the implications of what happens within campaign training programs and the impact particular training content has on participants, women’s political participation, and the political arena are still poorly understood. Using discourse analysis, this study seeks to understand the construction of womanhood in a campaign training program for women. The program for the purposes of this study is called Women in Politics (WiP). The WiP program is a multi-faceted, non-partisan, issue-neutral program geared towards encouraging and training women to run for public office and is located in a small city in the Southeast United States. Data was gathered using participant observation during three of six workshops in the series that were free and open to the public. Discourse about the intersections of candidacy, gender, race, age and class; family; and, appearance, perception and public judgement are examined to reveal how womanhood is constructed in ways that both reify and challenge or complicate hegemonic standards. The findings of this study indicate that for women to become elected to public office, a field in which women have been historically underrepresented, they must contend with and in many ways maintain hegemonic womanhood.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Schwartz, Cheryl
Commitee: Caniglia, Noel Cox, Pienta, Rachel Sutz
School: Prescott College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: MAI 55/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Political science
Keywords: Candidacy, Discourse analysis, Politics, Public office, Womanhood, Women
Publication Number: 1605873
ISBN: 978-1-339-34667-0
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