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A stairheid rammy: female politicians and gendered discourses in the Scottish press.

McKay, Fiona


Fiona McKay


This article explores the mediated representation of gender in the Scottish public sphere during the independence referendum in 2014. In particular, it focuses on a media sample drawn from the Scottish press that centres on two key political figures, Johann Lamont and Nicola Sturgeon, who took part in a televised debate during the campaign. Using critical discourse analysis, it looks at how language is used to construct overlapping discourses of gender in a specific cultural and national context. Findings show representations pivot on expectations that female politicians should embody a specific feminised style; and when gender norms appear to be violated, this is represented in negatively gendered terms. Though there is evidence of contestation of male-dominated politics, discourses still reify traditional gender norms and situate women as outsiders to the political sphere. This study shows how specific discursive frames can contribute to a cross-cultural practice of gendering women in politics.


MCKAY, F. 2020. A stairheid rammy: female politicians and gendered discourses in the Scottish press. Journal of language and politics [online], 19(1), pages 30-47. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 15, 2020
Online Publication Date Feb 10, 2020
Publication Date Mar 31, 2020
Deposit Date Feb 12, 2020
Publicly Available Date Feb 13, 2020
Journal Journal of language and politics
Print ISSN 1569-2159
Electronic ISSN 1569-9862
Publisher John Benjamins Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 30-47
Keywords Scottish politics; Gender; Female politicians; Critical discourse analysis; Scottish press
Public URL


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