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Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies




The Making of Women's Political Representation
Processes and Determinants of Shifting Power Dynamics in Tunisia and Morocco

The project aims to analyze power in local and regional settings to catch the dynamics of power and to shed light on its interconnectedness with the concept of political representation. To move beyond the understanding of representation as a feature, generated mostly in top-level positions and emanating, “top-down” into society, the research questions this unilateral understanding of representation.

Especially, the working mechanisms attributed to the application of gender quotas in relation to women’s political representation are examined. By asking how the analysis of local and regional power relations can help conceptualize the political representation of women “bottom-up,” the thesis generates added value in two distinct ways. First, it intends to sketch out local and regional power dynamics, which have not received enough attention in power and representation discourses, especially when it comes to gendered power analysis in the MENA region. Second, the project challenges the assumption that political representation can only be generated “top-down”.

By using a qualitative research design, specifically discourse analysis and interviews, which will be collected during research stays in Tunisia and Morocco, the research will be able to identify societal discourses around which political representation can be traced. Additionally, societal negotiation and decision-making processes that contain insightful power dynamics for connecting power to political representation will become visible.