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Mute force and ignorance: incivility and gender in Scotland

Angela, Smith and Michael, Higgins (2021) Mute force and ignorance: incivility and gender in Scotland. Politics Quarterly. ISSN 1532-4400

Item Type: Article


This paper is interested with the complex relationship between civility and gender in Scottish politics. It addresses two themes that have dominated discussion of Scotland’s political tone. The first has been the seeming rise in intemperate political discourse, amplified by social media and the divisiveness of Scottish independence. The second has been those developments in the representation of gender in Scottish politics, both in the composition of the Scottish parliament and in discourses around woman First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. We also focus in on discourses surrounding a recent breach of civility by male Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, in which Cole-Hamilton is recorded mouthing an expletive towards a female Scottish Government Minister during a Zoom meeting of the parliament’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee (11 February 2021). Analysis of this includes political responses to the ‘outburst’ and its subsequent media coverage, and examines in particular associations with masculinity and the relevance of the mitigating pleas of exasperated spontaneity. The paper makes broader associations between the representation of this example political incivility and those asymmetrical gender power relations given prominence by the #MeToo movement. The paper also suggests drawing lessons regarding of the weaponisation of incivility within the rhetoric of ‘angry populism’ and its spread amongst mainstream politicians.

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Depositing User: Angela Smith


Item ID: 13613
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1532-4400
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ORCID for Smith Angela: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2021 15:00
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2022 15:15


Author: Smith Angela ORCID iD
Author: Higgins Michael

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications


Culture > English Language and Literature

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