Adaptive Resistance : Power Struggles over Gender Quotas in Uruguay
Sammanfattning: Why and how do progressive social policies aimed at creating a more just and equal society fail? In seeking to increase our understanding of gendered institutional change in general, and gender equality policy failure in particular, this book explores the role of resistance among privileged political elites in accounting for such failures. To shed light on the adaptive nature of resistance and how resisting actors – status quo defenders – are both empowered and circumscribed by their ideational and institutional environment, a resistance stage model is developed. Mapped on to the policy process, this model outlines how status quo defenders adapt their resistance strategies across the phases of agenda setting, policy formulation, decision-making, and implementation. This theory of resistance is developed in conjuncture with an empirical study of a 30-year long process to adopt and implement an electoral gender quota policy in Uruguay. Gender quota policies have been the most common electoral reform in the past three decades and although the rapid and worldwide diffusion of this type of policy have contributed to increase the proportion of women in parliaments across the globe, many such policies have also failed in fast-tracking women in to positions of political power. While previous research primarily has explained quota failure by pointing at technical deficiencies, this book views such failures as the result of strategic and idea-based resistance among (male) political elites. Drawing on a large number of interviews with Uruguayan political elites, three extensive quota debates in the Uruguayan Parliament, and party electoral lists, this book carefully examines the power struggle over reform in this country. It shows how powerful quota opponents, seeking to ignore, stall, and undermine gendered institutional change, adapt their resistance strategies both across different political parties and over time, as women change agents manage to transform ideas and discourses. Taken together, this book furthers our understanding of the adaptive nature of resistance, why pervasive resistance emerges in some places, and the factors that uphold male political dominance, while also showing how progress and gendered institutional change can come about in such a resistance prone case as Uruguay.
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