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Interpretive Political ScienceSelected Essays, Volume II$
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R. A. W. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786115.001.0001

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On Greedy Institutions

On Greedy Institutions

(p.133) 8 On Greedy Institutions
Interpretive Political Science

R. A. W. Rhodes

Oxford University Press

This chapter is one of four case studies of an interpretive approach in action, this time informed by the genres of thought found in gender studies. It seeks to identify, map, and understand the ways in which the everyday beliefs and practices of British central government departments embed social constructions of masculinity and femininity. It draws on observational fieldwork and repeat interviews conducted between 2002 and 2004 to analyse the everyday practices of departmental courts. It argues that these courts have gendered practices and are ‘greedy institutions’. The chapter unpacks their practices of hierarchy, civility, rationality, gendered division of work, and long hours. It shows the persistence of inherited beliefs and everyday practices that maintain gender inequality at the apex of government. It argues that these practices have significant gender consequence; most notably women have few institutional options other than to ‘manage like men’.

Keywords:   gender, masculinity, femininity, interpretation, beliefs, practices, greedy institutions, court politics

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