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Politics and International Relations (PIR): People


Barbara Gaweda

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Barbara Gaweda
Edinburgh UK
Research Interests
Gender, post-communism, identity politics, national identity, post-Soviet politics, post-socialist and post-conflict transformations, Central Eastern Europe, Feminism, Feminist institutionalism, Ukraine, Discourse Theory, Feminist Research


  • Master of Advanced International Studies, Vienna School of International Studies, University of Vienna, Austria
  • BA (Hons) in International Studies, York University, Toronto, Canada

Working PhD title: 

No country for anyone but old men? The gendered politics and political gender of the Polish parliament

Research Project: 

My research focuses on a gendered analysis of political discourses in Poland within a global and regional context of anti-feminist backlash. The thesis combines transnational Anglophone theoretical literature with ‘local’ knowledge in order to expose the gendered nature of post-transformation parliamentary politics of Eastern Europe. The main research questions are: how and why are these discourses and institutions gendered? What are the underlying constructions of femininity and masculinity?

I analyse the discursive specifics of the gender regime of the Polish Sejm and its institutional implications. The main argument is that the discursive work that gender does and its very construction in the Polish parliament continually produces and reproduces discourses and institutions that create gender identities and gender roles both in the Sejm and for the society at large. By scrutinizing parliamentary debates I show the power of dominant discourses on masculinity and femininity and trace what is silenced.
While the analysed gendered constructions are time- and place-specific, they produce an ‘ethnographic moment’, a snapshot of gender relations in Poland that helps us understand the current situation.The thesis elaborates on discourse theory and feminist
institutionalist analysis, in order to unpick how Polish MPs understand and use gendered
discourses. It traces the use of dominant gender understandings in the specific area of family and welfare politics.


Dr Luke March and Prof Fiona Mackay