PSA UK is a ‘related group’ of the American Political Science Association, and has secured two co-sponsored panels at the Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, USA, 29 August – 1 September 2013.

‘Rhetoric, Politics and Conflict: Theories, Debates and Case Studies’
Co-sponsored with the Foundations of Political Theory, organized section of APSA.
Chaired by Professor James Martin (Goldsmiths, London), the panel will feature international participants.

Politics, at least in part, is constituted by the presence and risk of conflict of various kinds. Yet politics is also an activity that minimises, discharges or manages the prospect of conflict so that disputes may be resolved and communities may endure. The combined presence and absence of conflictual situations is registered most keenly in practices of rhetorical persuasion, where argumentative controversies play, simultaneously, on the potential for the dissolution of community and the promise of transcending conflict altogether. This panel explores the character of conflict in politics from the perspective of rhetoric and persuasion, focusing in particular on the way language and argument mediate conflict and shape the space of dispute. It invites reflection on theoretical approaches to rhetoric, the debates over the function of rhetoric in politics, and case studies on the way rhetorical conflicts unfold in political life.

‘Understanding Newness and Institutional Change: A Gender Perspective’
Co-sponsored with Women and Politics Research, organized section of APSA.
Chaired by Professor Fiona Mackay (Edinburgh University, Scotland), the panel includes participants from the USA and Australia.

This panel explores the themes of power and persuasion and the interplay of structure and agency by examining how institutional change and the creation of new institutions in particular are gendered. All institutions are deeply imbued with gender both in their formal rules but also in their informal norms and practices and often in ways that result in inequalities. Actors operating within institutions are also gendered. These factors have long been recognized by feminist scholars as has the need for institutional change, but institutional reform and innovation have often proved hard to do. Informed by insights from feminist institutionalism, the papers in this panel will explore the creation of new institutions to examine a number of key themes. All the paper-givers are team members of a five year European Research Council funded research programme led from the University of Manchester entitled Understanding Institutional Change: A Gender Perspective.


Image: Pedro Szekely