The Experience of Politics

Narratives of women MPs in the Indian parliament 1

Authored by: Shirin M. Rai

The Routledge International Handbook on Narrative and Life History

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138784291
eBook ISBN: 9781315768199
Adobe ISBN: 9781317665717


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Why do political narratives matter? I have been working on the issue of women’s presence in political institutions such as parliaments for a while now; I found that the dominant political science frameworks as well as the broad sociological ones did not allow me to answer the complex questions about the routes women took to politics – why did they choose to enter politics? How did they garner support for their decision? How did they negotiate the complex public and private terrains to not only access politics but also sustain their participation? Below, I first outline the two major explanatory frameworks used by feminist political scientists to understand political recruitment of women and why I found them unsatisfactory, and then show how a narrative and performative approach to politics allowed me to answer these questions better.

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