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

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-47
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Language and Politics
Issue number1
Early online date10 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020


  • Scottish politics
  • Scottish press
  • gender
  • female politicians


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