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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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 30, 2020
Journal Journal of language and politics
Print ISSN 1569-2159
Electronic ISSN 1569-9862
Publisher New Publisher Required
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 30-47
Institution Citation 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:
Keywords Scottish politics; Gender; Female politicians; Critical discourse analysis; Scottish press


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