Gender Recognition and Political Representation in the Postcolonial Debate

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Irlys Alencar F. BARREIRA, Departamento de Ciências Sociais, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Fortaleza, Brazil, Universidade Federal do Cear᠁- Brazil, Brazil

Postcolonial debates are reshaping the discursive field that gives meaning to hierarchical relations, repositioning the various ways of domination, such as practices and narratives of gender. This paper focuses on the participation of women in political representation in Brazil, analyzing their processes of presentation of self and recognition. Relying on empirical data from previous research projects, the aim is to take into account how women present themselves in electoral campaigns, and the recognition that is mobilized in settings of political representation within the National Congress, both in the Senate and in the Chamber of Deputies, over the last decade.

It is important to emphasize that seats of representation in the National Congress indicate relatively long-term political careers, with a previous experience in running electoral campaigns and serving terms. In spite of a gradual increase of political capital, women who currently serve as members of Congress account for 10% of the seats. How do women in Congress understand this condition of representation?

Moving beyond the quantitative dimension of representation, the work reflects on the markers of gender associated to the symbolic conflicts performed during the impeachment process of former president Dilma Rousseff, in 2016. Power and subjectivity stood out as important markers to think about the issue of representation, based on non-formalized references of male dominance in politics. In this sense, it became relevant to assess how women interpret their own presence in politics, and how they create collectives that adhere to references of both gender and party ideology. Finally, the data is based in postcolonial debates, which contribute to the understanding of subjectivity in politics, as well as highlighting the tensions and possibilities involved when taking part in a field of practices that has been historically built by men.