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Women’s Rights in Democratizing States
Just Debate and Gender Justice in the Public Sphere

$113.00 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107001916

$ 113.00 (C)
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About the Authors
  • This study offers a new explanation for why advances in women’s rights rarely occur in democratizing states. Drawing on deliberative theory, Denise Walsh argues that the leading institutions in the public sphere are highly gendered, meaning women’s ability to shape the content of public debate and put pressure on the state to advance their rights is limited. She tests this claim by measuring the openness and inclusiveness of debate conditions in the public sphere during select time periods in Poland, Chile, and South Africa. Through a series of structured, focused comparisons, the book confirms the importance of just debate for securing gender justice. The comparisons also reveal that counterpublics in the leading institutions in the public sphere are crucial for expanding debate conditions. The book concludes with an analysis of counterpublics and suggests an active role for the state in the public sphere.

    • Offers a new approach for analyzing the quality of democracy called just debate
    • More comprehensive than most gender scholarship as it not only analyzes women's movements and the legislature, but also political parties, trade unions and the media
    • Offers a framework for empirically assessing the public sphere
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “In a project framed by developments in feminist empirical study of democratization and in normative insights of critical and feminist theorists of deliberative democracy, Walsh tests the hypothesis that conditions of just debate open possibilities for debate over gender justice and are good for women’s rights. The book reveals the import of the particulars of context and conditions for enabling just debate. With women’s rights as her example, Walsh also raises interesting questions about the conditions under which any movement for social justice can create and take advantage of opportunities for just debate. Theorists and empiricists of democracy will find the questions and the insights of her work compelling.”
    – Brooke Ackerly, Vanderbilt University

    “Denise Walsh’s ambitious and sophisticated comparison of legislative outcomes for women’s rights in three democratizing countries (Poland, Chile, and South Africa) argues that conditions of ‘just debate’ in the public sphere explain variations in legislative outcomes for women’s rights. Democracy and liberal rights alone are not enough. Women must have ‘access, voice, and the capacity for contestation’ to produce meaningful advances in gender justice. Her book is rich in comparative insights, and the concept of just debate has important implications not only for achieving gender justice but also for assessing and improving the quality of democracy in democratizing states around the world. This is an original and stimulating contribution to the field of gender and politics.”
    – Jane S. Jaquette, Teaching Emerita Professor of Politics, Occidental College

    “This is a novel, innovative, and ambitious piece of work. It has much to offer scholars in a range of fields, providing an important addition to the standard analyses of how transitions to democracy are gendered.”
    – Georgina Waylen, University of Sheffield

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107001916
    • length: 306 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus. 8 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Just Debate:
    1. Democratization and just debate
    2. Just debate in the public sphere
    3. Probing and testing just debate
    Part II. Just Debate in Democratizing States:
    4. Just debate denied: socialist and democratizing Poland
    5. Just debate diverges: regime breakdown in Chile and South Africa
    6. Just debate prevails: the liberal moment in South Africa
    7. Just debate declines: consolidation in South Africa
    Part III. Gender Justice:
    8. Pursuing just debate.

  • Author

    Denise M. Walsh, University of Virginia
    Denise Walsh is Assistant Professor of Politics and Studies in Women and Gender at the University of Virginia. From 2008 to 2009 she was a Fellow at the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. Professor Walsh was the recipient of the Best Dissertation Prize for the Women in Politics Research section of the American Political Science Association in 2007 and was a co-winner of the Journal of Southern African Studies Best Article Prize in 2006. She served as a co-editor of the Journal of Southern African Studies special journal issue on women and gender in Southern Africa and has published articles and a book chapter on gender politics in South Africa. She received her Ph.D. from the New School for Social Research in 2006, where she received the Hannah Arendt Award in Politics.

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