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Carole Spary

Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

Dr Carole Spary joined Nottingham as an Assistant Professor in September 2014, and became Associate Professor in August 2019. Prior to this she was Lecturer in Politics at the University of York (2011-2014) and Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Warwick (2008-2011). She has a PhD in Politics from the University of Bristol.

Expertise Summary

Dr Spary's research and teaching focuses on aspects of democratic politics and development, particularly gender, development, political representation and political institutions, and specialises in politics and policy in India. She is currently the Deputy Director of the University of Nottingham's Asia Research Institute. She is the former convenor (2008-2016) of the Politics of South Asia Specialist Group of the UK's Political Studies Association.

Teaching Summary

Dr Spary convenes the MA module Global Asia, and co-convenes the advanced level undergraduate and postgraduate modules Gender and Political Representation with Dr William Daniel. She also contributes… read more

Research Summary

1. Gender, Development, and the State in India

This monograph, published by Routledge, critically evaluates the discursive and institutional changes relating to gender and development policy since the 1990s. In particular it considers the extent to which the concept of 'gender mainstreaming' has been adopted in India, and if so, how. Informed by global shifts in gender and development policy, it explores developments at national and sub-national levels to understand important factors influencing policy production, and the opportunities and challenges posed by multi-level governance in the context of India's federal system. By focusing on sub-national development policies and programs for women, it combines two wider concerns in contemporary comparative research: i) a focus on multi-level governance in development, in particular, changing centre-state relations in India in relation to development policy and divergent development policy approaches and outcomes among states, and ii) a focus on multi-level governance in relation to state feminism, which highlights how the state is a heterogeneous, internally differentiated collection of institutions, offering complex opportunities and consequences for women's movements engaging with the state. It is based on Dr Spary's ESRC-funded doctoral research.

As follow-on research related to this monograph, I am developing further research on the topic of gender and federalism in India (and in comparative context).

2. Performing representation: women parliamentarians and political participation in India

This British Academy Small Grant funded research project explores women's participation as elected representatives in the national parliament of India. It seeks to understand the institutional dynamics affecting the participation of women MPs as a minority group and the representation of gender in parliament. The analysis focuses on selected debates and parliamentary committees, including the Committee for the Empowerment of Women. It combines performance-oriented and institutionalist approaches to the study of political representation and parliaments.

This research forms part of a co-authored book with Professor Shirin M. Rai, Performing Representation: Women Members in the Indian Parliament, (Oxford University Press, 2019).

I am also continuing with further research on women's political participation in India, especially for the 2019 general elections, as well as party nominations practices, renomination of women, and incumbency, and women in party political and parliamentary leadership positions in India.

Reviews of Performing Representation:

Recent media outputs:

Selected Publications

Dr Spary convenes the MA module Global Asia, and co-convenes the advanced level undergraduate and postgraduate modules Gender and Political Representation with Dr William Daniel. She also contributes to a first year undergraduate module, the International Politics of the Asia Pacific.

In the past, she has convened the advanced level undergraduate and postgraduate modules on Gender and Development, and contributed to first year undergraduate modules Introduction to Comparative Politics and the Making of Modern Asia (based in the Department of History).

She also supervises UG and MA dissertations, and is currently supervising two PhD students:

Ruta Skriptaite: "Political Image-making and Post-Soviet Patriarchal Leadership: A Comparative Analysis of Belarus, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan"

Nawsher Sikder: "Political Economy of Development Finance from the Emerging Donors: A Study on the Development Finance Mobilized to the Infrastructure Projects of Bangladesh"

Past Research

My research expertise and interests fall under two broad themes: (1) gender and the politics of development and (2) gender, democracy, political representation, and electoral politics. I am also interested in feminist institutionalist, feminist poststructural, and intersectional and postcolonial feminist approaches.

1. Gender and the Politics of Development

Project and publications on this theme include:

Gender, Development, and the State in India: This monograph, published by Routledge, critically evaluates the discursive and institutional changes relating to gender and development policy since the 1990s. In particular it considers the extent to which the concept of 'gender mainstreaming' has been adopted in India, and if so, how. Informed by global shifts in gender and development policy, it explores developments at national and sub-national levels to understand important factors influencing policy production, and the opportunities and challenges posed by multi-level governance in the context of India's federal system. By focusing on sub-national development policies and programs for women, it combines two wider concerns in contemporary comparative research: i) a focus on multi-level governance in development, in particular, changing centre-state relations in India in relation to development policy and divergent development policy approaches and outcomes among states, and ii) a focus on multi-level governance in relation to state feminism, which highlights how the state is a heterogeneous, internally differentiated collection of institutions, offering complex opportunities and consequences for women's movements engaging with the state. It is based on my ESRC-funded doctoral research.

Gender, Federalism, and the State in India: as follow-on research related to my Routledge monograph, I developed further research on the topic of gender and federalism in India. Initially inspired by the work of international scholars of gender and federalism, as well as scholars of Indian federalism and gendered state policy in India, I published a book chapter on this topic as part of an international comparative Handbook on Gender, Diversity, and Federalism, edited by Vickers, Grace, and Collier (published by Edward Elgar in 2020).

2. Gender, democracy, political representation, and electoral politics

Performing representation: women parliamentarians and political participation in India

This research theme builds on my Leverhulme postdoctoral fellowship (2008-2011) at Warwick on the Gendered Ceremony and Rituals in Parliament programme under the mentorship of Prof. Shirin Rai, as well as a subsequent British Academy Small Grant funded research project (2013-15). It explored women's participation as elected representatives in the national parliament of India. It sought to understand the institutional dynamics affecting the participation of women MPs as a minority group and the representation of gender in parliament. The analysis focuses on selected debates and parliamentary committees, including the Committee for the Empowerment of Women. It combined performance-oriented and institutionalist approaches to the study of political representation and parliaments.

This research forms part of a co-authored book with Professor Shirin M. Rai, Performing Representation: Women Members in the Indian Parliament, (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Reviews of Performing Representation:

My chapter on 'Gender, Politics, Performance: Embodiment and Representation in Political Institutions' for the Interview in Times of India, May 2019

Gender, elections, political recruitment and candidate selection

I have also researched gendered dynamics of elections, political recruitment, candidate selection and political leadership, with a focus on Indian politics. Publications on this theme include:

Media activity on this theme includes:

Other

Previous research on democracy, representation, and political institutions includes research on parliaments, especially India, but also in comparative context.

On the theme of legislative disruption:

Other published research on representation and democratic processes and institutions:

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