Evaluating the Substantive Representation of Women and Domestic Violence Legislation in England and Wales: a Critical Path Approach

Kitchen, A. 2018. Evaluating the Substantive Representation of Women and Domestic Violence Legislation in England and Wales: a Critical Path Approach. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Social Sciences

TitleEvaluating the Substantive Representation of Women and Domestic Violence Legislation in England and Wales: a Critical Path Approach
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsKitchen, A.
Abstract

More women entering politics has led to questions regarding so-called ‘women’s issues’ and whether female representatives make a difference in reference to these issues. This thesis moves beyond the question of whether women represent women and instead, focuses on the representation process as a whole. This approach widens the scope beyond seeing women as a homogenous group, with uniform interests and unvarying political motivations. To do so, this thesis evaluates the substantive representation of women in England and Wales. Specifically, this thesis assesses four pieces of domestic violence legislation: The Crime and Security Act 2010, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, and the Serious Crime Act 2015. This thesis employs a critical path framework and uses this framework to research the impact of substantive representation regarding this specific category of legislation. In addition to utilizing this framework, the main aims of this thesis include: drawing conclusions on substantive representation and expanding present knowledge regarding both the political representation of women and domestic violence legislation in England and Wales. In order to accomplish these aims, this thesis considers the following research question: what does the substantive representation of women mean in England and Wales, regarding domestic violence legislation? The case study is driven by a substantive political problem, domestic violence, and uses longstanding conceptual ideas, such as political representation, in order to ask new questions. This thesis further adds to the conversation surrounding the substantive representation of women by creating a critical path, or logical pathway, used to evaluate what is ‘going on’ in regard to representation. This pathway aids in tracing occurrences across instances of time, legislation, sites, and actors. The pathway utilises many concepts within the field including critical junctures, critical acts, and critical actors, and assembles them in a logical way, by employing the framework of questions mentioned above. This thesis benefits from and demonstrates the changing nature of representation and how we as researchers evaluate and draw conclusions from it. Evaluating substantive representation is important because numbers do not equal an understanding of behaviour, and why representatives and legislators may attempt to represent one group of citizens rather than another.

Year2018
File
Publication dates
Published2018

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