Karen Celis

Karen Celis
Vrije Universiteit Brussel | VUB · Political Science (POLI)

About

89
Publications
43,081
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2,027
Citations
Citations since 2016
26 Research Items
1417 Citations
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
Introduction

Publications

Publications (89)
Book
When are women well represented, politically speaking? The popular consensus has been, for some time, when descriptive representatives put women’s issues and feminist interests on the political agenda. Today, such certainty has been well and truly shaken; differences among women—especially how they conceive of their “interests”—is said to fatally u...
Article
How can democracies effectively represent citizens? The goal of this Handbook is to evaluate comprehensively how well the interests and preferences of mass publics become represented by institutions in liberal democracies. It first explores how the idea and institutions of liberal democracies were formed over centuries and became enshrined in Weste...
Article
While it is axiomatic to note how ethnic minorities and women are both politically underrepresented in Western Europe, the interaction between ethnicity and gender in candidate nomination is seldom articulated. Some suggest that ethnic minority men fare better in the nomination process, while others indicate that ethnic minority women experience a...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Lors des dernières élections, les Flamands et les Wallons ont clairement voté différemment. En Flandre, c’est surtout le parti national-populiste Vlaams Belang qui a gagné (+12,6% aux régionales), tandis que le Pvda (+2,8%) et Groen (+1,4%) ont légèrement progressé et que les trois partis traditionnels ont perdu du terrain. En Wallonie, les trois p...
Article
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Gender inequality in political representation remains despite widespread and long-standing feminist campaigns for representative equality. This article suggests that in order to increase our understanding of why men’s over-representation in politics persists, gender equality in descriptive and substantive representation should be analysed as power...
Article
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We investigate to what extent local political parties have attention for ethnic minority interests. We are interested in whether party-related or context-related variables lead to higher levels of attention to ethnic minority interests. Our analysis is based on a broad scale survey among local party chairs in Belgium. The results show that mainly p...
Article
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This article should be read as an ongoing dialogue between Suzanne Dovi and ourselves about a common concern: the quality of representation in general and, in particular, the good substantive representation for women (SRW). We strongly share Dovi’s concern that democratic institutions and processes can favor those in positions of power and can be u...
Article
Introduction to Special Issue on Gender and Conservatism - Volume 14 Special Issue - Karen Celis, Sarah Childs
Article
Conservative political actors appear rather troubling for many gender and politics scholars and feminist activists. What should we make of their claims to represent women? How should we best understand their actions? This article, based on a critical rereading of the empirical literature and informed by contemporary representation theory, develops...
Article
Full-text available
Conservative political actors appear rather troubling for many gender and politics scholars and feminist activists. What should we make of their claims to represent women? How should we best understand their actions? This article, based on a critical re-reading of the empirical literature and informed by contemporary representation theory, develops...
Article
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This article critically reviews the extant literature on social group representation and clarifies the advantages of intersectionality theory for studying political representation. It argues that the merit of intersectionality theory can be found in its ontology of power. Intersectionality theory is founded on a relational conception of political p...
Article
Presence, of bodies and ideas, is often taken as the primary indicator of political equality and, hence, democratic health. Intersectionality and constructivism question the validity of measuring presence. Turning theory into practice, we propose a comparative reflexive design guided by two research questions: (1) Who are the groups? and (2) What a...
Article
Although research on gender mainstreaming (GM) is extensive, literature on disability mainstreaming (DM) is scarce. This article builds on the experience of GM to explore the conditions affecting DM, focusing on the first Flemish policy cycle of DM (2010–2014) in two policy domains: employment and education. We found no substantive difference in th...
Article
This article considers the experience of the impact of ethnofederations on social identities that cut across such an ethnic divide. Based on a series of in-depth interviews focusing on the structure and operation of women’s and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender movement organizations in Belgium, we demonstrate that these groups experience con...
Article
The recent finding that right-wing parties increasingly make efforts to integrate women’s concerns raises questions as to whether ideology still counts as a reliable indicator for women’s substantive representation and how different party contexts shape opportunities for the articulation of women’s interests. This article therefore critically reass...
Article
This article critically reviews the extant literature on social group representation and clarifies the advantages of intersectionality theory for studying political representation. It argues that the merit of intersectionality theory can be found in its ontology of power. Intersectionality theory is founded on a relational conception of political p...
Article
This comparative analysis investigates formal parliamentary bodies ‘for women’ and informal networks and parliamentary groups (‘gender equality bodies’). These are evaluated to determine the extent to which they contribute to a ‘good’ collective process of women's substantive representation. Focusing on three countries, Belgium, the United Kingdom...
Article
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Na een lang en opmerkelijk politiek gevecht werd in 1990 in het Belgische parlement een wetsvoorstel goedgekeurd dat abortus gedeeltelijk legaliseerde. Wie voordien, om wat voor reden ook, abortus pleegde, beging ‘een misdaad tegen de orde der familie en de openbare zeden’, dixit een wet uit 1867. In vergelijking met andere Europese landen was Belg...
Article
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Feminist scholars have developed a solid research agenda on gender equality in politics. This scholarship is built on the conviction that equitable representation of men and women is fundamental to the functioning of representative democracies (Mansbridge 1999; Norris and Lovenduski 1995). In order to comply with the intersectional research paradig...
Article
Why have ethnic minority women—a group experiencing ‘double barriers’ in society and politics—gained inroads into formal politics in Belgium more quickly than ethnic minority men? Our qualitative analysis of candidate selection shows that political parties prefer ethnic minority women candidates because their ‘intersectional identity mix’ is maxima...
Article
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This article critically evaluates explanatory theories about how representatives, and more specifically members of parliament (MPs), connect with interest groups. Central to this are the crucial questions of whether these contacts are party-based or identity-based. Our analysis includes five kinds of groups: two traditional cleavage-based groups (b...
Article
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This article situates itself within ongoing scholarly debates on the conditions of democratic representation. It, more precisely, posits traditional concerns for the ‘indirectness’ of political representation—that is the possibility for citizens' alienation and exclusion from decision-making—against contemporary accounts that conceive of such ‘indi...
Article
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Gender equality is not fully realised when it is restricted to ethnic majority men and women. This article examines how gender quotas as a form of equality policy affect ethnic minority groups, in particular, the gender balance among ethnic minority candidates for political office. Our analysis focuses on the selection of ethnic minority candidates...
Article
Recognizing diversity among women and their intersectional identities leads us away from evaluating the substantive representation of women with singular views of what is ‘feminist’ and ‘in the interests of women’. Illustrated through the comparative analysis of two recent cases in Belgium – the burka ban and the law on quotas for women on company...
Article
This article studies how Belgian and Dutch parties regulate demands for representation by women and ethnic minorities, and how this influences the representation of intersectional groups. We argue that demands for representation by multiple groups bring competition into play. Ethnic minorities have found it particularly difficult to integrate into...
Article
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The central concern of this article is the extent of political party commitments to the inclusion of ethnic minorities. The study of two Belgian cities and four parties shows a marked discrepancy between the efforts to include ethnic minority candidates and their level of inclusion in the local party structures as individual members, as party offic...
Article
The focus on female MPs and leftist and feminist issues in traditional studies of women's substantive representation has supported the overall conclusion that women, feminists and left-wing parties promote women's interests in parliament. But our analysis of the ‘critical actors’ in women's substantive representation in 10 European countries confir...
Article
Full-text available
The scholarly literature on ethnic minority representation often points to the “political opportunity structure” – particularly that of political parties – to explain the prevalence of ethnic minorities in elected politics. Informed by the literature on women in politics, this article examines how the ideology of political parties affects the repre...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we take a stand against the relativism of contemporary “claim-based” approaches to the study of the substantive representation of women (SRW), and argue for on-going evaluation of the responsiveness of actors’ claims to speak for women. We advance the concept of responsiveness as a criterion for evaluating the quality of SRW. We de...
Article
Gender has always helped shape personal and family relationships, as well as governance processes, market structures, and religious practice. Political science, which is one of many academic disciplines in the world, is gendered and shaped by the social norms on sex and sexuality. This book aims to explain the gendered nature of political science a...
Article
This article discusses the gendered nature of politics (as practice) and political science (as an academic discipline). It studies the sex-typing characteristic of most institutions in the modern world and describes how gender shapes the ways people organize, think, and know about the world. The article then identifies the changes that have occurre...
Article
This article analyzes the impact of restructuring processes on the organizational structure and lobbying strategies of women’s movement organizations (WMOs) in Belgium (Flanders) and the UK (Scotland). We argue that devolution/federalization and the resultant creation of new, intermediary levels of governance offers a devolution/federalism advantag...
Article
When are “the peopleâ€-with all its different groups-represented? It is commonly accepted that democratic representation implies that no significant parts of the population are excluded from the right to vote or to stand for election and, similarly, that parliaments and even governments should, to a certain extent, mirror the represented and gove...
Chapter
Belgium and the Netherlands are generally classified as consensus democracies, with common characteristics such as a multiparty system based on religious and class cleavages, resulting in coalition government, a tradition of pillarization and strong corporatist arrangements. But in the 1960s their development started to diverge, and we argue that t...
Article
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Despite initial optimism, gender mainstreaming often turns into a formalistic exercise whilst losing sight of its broader goal of promoting gender equality. This article suggests that a problem is gender mainstreaming's largely undefined goal, combined with a rational logic underpinning its implementation. We apply a typology distinguishing substan...
Article
Recent developments in the gender and politics literature suggest that studying the substantive representation of women is much more complicated than counting the number of women present in a particular political institution and judging the actions of women representatives against a ‘feminist’ shopping list of demands. In brief, the substantive rep...
Article
Conservative women are increasing their presence in politics – whether as elected representatives or organized as women’s groups in civil society- and women’s role in the public and private sphere is often a core theme of centre-right parties and policies. Nevertheless, rightist women and the role of centre-right parties are blind spots in the rese...
Article
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The seminal work of Arend Lijphart, Electoral Systems and Party Systems (1994), limits the definition of electoral reforms to those affecting electoral formulas, district magnitudes, assembly size, or electoral thresholds. Following this definition, studies on electoral reform have put political parties and their motivations at centre stage. Expand...
Article
The development of an asymmetrical federal structure profoundly changed the institutional setting for Belgian gender equality policies. This contribution assesses the influence of this process on the development of the Belgian women's policy agencies and its gender equality policies. It argues that while the characteristics of the Belgian federal s...
Article
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This article deals with the apparent contradiction between, on the one hand, parliaments as envisaged by neo-institutionalists as stable and stabilising institutions and, on the other hand, the societal desire to diversify political personnel and to open up political decision-making processes to include group interests that were under-represented i...
Article
The promotion of ‘women’s interests’ is a central focus and concern of advocates of women’s political representation. Examining the policy priorities and initiatives of female office-holders, existing research seeks to establish whether there are links between women’s presence and policy outcomes favorable to women as a group. Building on recent wo...
Article
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More and more countries implement quotas and install women's policy agencies as an answer to the underrepresentation of women and gender- related interests in politics and policy. The main argument is that more women MPs and the structural presence of attention for women's interests not only contribute to just and democratic politics, but also enha...
Article
From the outset, there were high expectations about gender mainstreaming and the possibilities it raised for achieving gender equality. A decade after the introduction of gender mainstreaming, scepticism about gender mainstreaming as an effective policy strategy for gender equality is vast. Analyzing several operationalizations of gender mainstream...
Chapter
The first part of this book clearly illustrates one of the fundamental contributions of feminist and women’s studies: revealing the gender bias of so-called objective and neutral concepts (Squires 1999, Bryson 2003). Representation was fated to undergo the same treatment. The gendered dimension of representation is evident regarding the actors; bec...
Article
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This article seeks to rethink how scholars have traditionally studied women's substantive representation. It outlines a framework that aims to replace questions like 'Do women represent women?' with ones like 'Who claims to act for women?' and 'Where, how, and why does the substantive representation of women occur?' Arguing that representation occu...
Article
The lack of consensus regarding what the substantive representation of women means involves far reaching consequences for empirical research. This article illustrates some consequences of specific operationalisations of 'the substantive representation of women'. It shows that, in order to understand the substantive representation of women, as it is...
Chapter
In the aftermath of the Second World War Belgium developed a welfare system with extensive unemployment allowances, social security, pension rights, accessible health and care infrastructure. Notwithstanding a rather conservative gender regime, fed by the Catholic tradition and its impact on politics, the participation of women in the labour market...
Article
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Based on empirical data, speeches from the budget debates of the Belgian Lower House (1900–1979), this article explores the relationship between descriptive and substantive representation of women. The article concludes that women members of Parliament (MPs) were women's most fervent representatives and contributed in a unique way to how women were...
Article
This contributions tests the hypotheses that women MPs have a specific potential to 'construct' the represented female citizen. This ste rns from the combination of two theoretical propositions: the thesis that representatives 'create' the represented in the course of the representational process and the statement that women MPs might contribute in...
Article
In this contribution we confront the results ofa research on the Flemish Parliament (1995-1999) with two hypotheses regarding the request for more wamen in parliament. First, we ask whether female MPs do defend wamen's interests. The research indicates that taking care of women's interests was indeed part of the task of female MPs. Supported by oth...
Article
The abortion revolution occurring circa 1880 in Western Europe also had a manifest impact on Belgium. The qualitative innovations supporting this revolution were introduced here too and resulted in an increasing abortion rate. Abortion thus became an accessible form of contraception: the back pages of Le Soir, La Flandre Libérale, L'Etoile Belge, V...
Article
Recognizing diversity among women and intersectional identities leads us away from judging women’s substantive representation on the basis of a singular view on what should be considered to be feminist and in the interest of women. Illustrated by a comparative analysis two recent cases of substantive representation of women in Belgium, i.e. the bur...

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