Power, exclusion and empowerment: Feminist innovation in political science

By S. Laurel Weldon



In this essay, I argue that feminist political science contributes to our understanding of power, especially through the concept of empowerment, giving us the conceptual tools to grapple with phenomena such as the impact of feminist movements and other initiatives of marginalized groups organizing to contest inequality and oppression. These concepts bring informal politics into the formal sphere and show the limits of a formal, top-down approach to power and politics more generally. It reveals how intersectionality and power are linked. I illustrate this argument in a discussion of the recent #metoo campaign, as well as through a brief examination of abortion policy and foreign policy in Canada and the United States. I conclude that, the reciprocal influence of feminist scholarship and political science has been one of mutual enrichment, though the contribution of feminist political science to the broader discipline has been limited by male bias that leads scholars to overlook and discount work by women in the discipline.

Citation: Weldon, S. L. (2018). Power, exclusion and empowerment: Feminist innovation in political science. Women’s Studies International Forum, (online ahead of print).



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