Sisters in the Statehouse: Black Women and Legislative Decision Making (Hardback)Nadia Brown (author)
Hardback 272 Pages / Published: 15/05/2014
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Descriptive studies of women in office have well documented the ways in which the gender and race of legislators affects policy preferences. However, descriptive studies of female legislators tend to treat identity as constant over time and context and so fail to account for the substantive work of legislators. As Sisters in the Statehouse shows, it is not enough to disaggregate women from Blacks. While scholars have long advanced the notion that African American women as a group exhibit specificities informed by the intersection of race and gender that provide them with a unique worldview, it is necessary to further explore differences among Black women. This book addresses this gap by utilizing humanistic inquiry to examine the connection between descriptive and substantive representation in the case of Black women legislators. This link hinges on how such legislators see the effects of their own race-gender identity on their legislative work. By combining humanistic and social science techniques, including feminist life histories, elite interviews, and participant observation in conjunction with legislative case studies and bill sponsorship data, Nadia E. Brown presents a fuller description of how identity informs Black women state legislators descriptive and substantive representation. Linking personal narratives to political behavior, Brown elicits the feminist life histories of African American women legislators to understand how their experiences with racism and sexism have influenced their legislative decision-making and policy preferences. Sisters in the Statehouse is a groundbreaking inquiry into how an intersectional approach can enhance our understanding of political representation.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 496 g
Dimensions: 239 x 162 x 26 mm
This book is path breaking insofar as it blazes a trail for future intersectionality-type research, which focuses squarely upon the lives of African American women state legislators. In it, Brown makes the case that identity foregrounds experience and tells how Black female legislators perceive the effects of their identities (read: plural) on their legislative work. By so doing, she provides both a rich and nuanced explanation for how descriptive representation enhances substantive representation in important and meaningful ways. This is an intriguing, carefully argued, and thoughtfully crafted work that centers on some of the most important and timely policy issues today: domestic violence, elder care, and marriage equality. * Evelyn M. Simien, University of Connecticut *
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