Solo-authored Articles

University of Gothenburg
Gender & Politics Research Workshop

February 23, 2022

A Disrupted Pipeline? Youth Parties and the Impact of Political Violence on Progressive Ambition


Despite being one of the largest pools of future political leaders, young party members are a largely understudied group. While there is an interest to understand their motivations for becoming young party members, we know much less about young people’s political ambition and the factors that impact their decision to seek political positions, to remain party foot soldiers, or to drop out of party engagement entirely. Although there are many experiences that can shape the ambition of young people, one thing is for certain, if you have ambition and you want to get ahead in politics, you must have experience, be “seen” by your fellow party members, and following that, be well-connected. For young people, being “seen” by, and in turn being well-connected to, peers means having both made strong commitments to the party—devoting a lot of time to meetings, participating in campaigns, and recruiting new members—and maintaining a strong online presence.

Today’s youngest party members not only are active as young people online, but also as representatives of their mother party and youth associations. While being active on social media has many benefits for young, politically ambitious party members, it also presents challenges and drawbacks. One of the most concerning drawbacks is the potential exposure to online harassment and abuse. While there has been a tremendous effort to define violence against women in politics (VAWiP), and to draw attention to and investigate how women in political positions experience different forms of violence, there are fewer investigations that take age as an intersecting category of interest. Even fewer have questioned how young, active, party members experience political violence and harassment and how this may impact their ambition for seeking higher office. If we are to better understand the representation of young people, and particularly, the future of women’s representation, we must look to those who are the most likely future leaders—young party members. To better understand the supply of candidates and especially women candidates, we need to better understand how their early experiences within party politics can impact their future decisions to seek higher office, or to drop out.

Drawing on unique qualitative interviews conducted with young Swedish and Norwegian political party members, in this paper I ask how young future politicians experience political violence and the extent to which political violence shapes their ambition and behavior. More specifically, I ask do young, active, future politicians experience political violence and if so, how does this impact their behavior and attitudes towards candidacy and/or remaining in office? Further, are there gendered differences in the experience of political abuse and its impact? Preliminary findings suggest that young, ambitious party members do experience semiotic, physical, and psychological violence and that these phenomena are gendered. Early findings also suggest that experiencing such forms of violence does alter behavior, but this varies both by gender and with experience level.

European Conference of Politics and Gender 2019

European Conference of Politics and Gender 2019

Revisiting the Black Box: Youth and Candidate Selection Methods

Single-authored project. Presented at ECPG 2019 (Amsterdam)

Youth representation, globally, is disproportionately low—less than 3 percent of all MPs, globally, are under the age of 30 (IPU, 2019). Despite this, to date political science scholars have paid little attention to the question of age. Moreover, women and politics scholars have only recently begun to ask how age may affect representation as an intersecting barrier to political success. What little research does exist has focused on the parliamentary level leaving out the crucial role of party gatekeepers and a potential “majority gatekeeper affect”. This paper, therefore, seeks to fill a gap in representation literature by examining candidate selection methods and youth representation. In this particular study I focus on four Turkish political parties with a particular focus on candidate selection methods. The paper seeks to answer questions concerning candidate selection methods that enable and inhibit the greater representation of young people. Preliminary results show support that when youth are included in candidate selection, the descriptive representation of young people increases. I also find that in the case of Turkey, there is a “majority gatekeeper affect” where young women are the biggest losers often ending up in the least winnable seat positions.

Midwest Political Science Association General Conference 2018

Do Measures of Intra-Party Democracy Need Re-Thinking?​

Throughout my master's studies I was interested in re-thinking internal party democracy from a gendered perspective. My master's thesis focused on showing how the exclusion of gender-inclusivity within political parties may skew the evaluation of levels of internal party democracy.

Co-authored Articles

IPSA General Conference
Lisbon/Virtual June 2021

RE:Presentations Online Conference
March 2021

A New Kind of Wave? Millennials in the US Congress

Co-authored research project with Isabel Kohler (Uppsala University).

The face of politics in the United States has been, albeit slowly, changing over the past two decades. For the first time, in the 116th Congress, The House of Representatives became home to its most ethnically, gender, and age-diverse Congresses yet. In the 115th Congress there were less than 5 young elected leaders in the House of Representatives. This number tripled following the 2018 election. Using a unique data set gathered by the Center for Youth Political Participation at Rutgers University, this paper seeks to delve more deeply into the ways in which the 116th Congress is different from the 115th Congress. In doing so we investigate the number of young candidates, regional differences in candidacy numbers, what these candidates “look” like in terms of ethnic background and gender as well as taking a closer look at those who were actually elected. The overall aim of the research is to discuss how the descriptive representation of generations may be changing as well as to discuss to what extent the most ethnically diverse generation, Millennials, is being descriptively represented in Congress.

Workshop on intra-party competition
June 13-14, 2022

Understanding dynamics of intra-party incongruence in OLPR municipal elections, an analysis of socio-demographic factors 

Co-authored research project with Veikko Isotalo (University of Helsinki).

Political Studies Association
General Conference
April, 2022 (Planned)

Northeastern Political Science Association General Conference November, 2021

'Immature' Representatives: Age Eligibility Requirements & Youth Representation

Co-authored research project with Cecilia Ritacco (Rutgers Undergraduate Researcher) and Paige Chan (Rutgers Undergraduate Researcher)

The role that youth in the United States play as voters and activists has received heightened attention from both academics and the media in recent years. Yet, the representation of young adults in legislative bodies has received notably less attention. While previous literature has argued that the paucity of young representatives (those between ages 18-35) is due to their general disinterest in political participation, others suggest that young adult’s underrepresentation may largely be a product of institutional obstacles such as candidate age requirements (see Krook and Nugent, 2018; Stockemer and Sundström, 2020). In this paper, we examine how variations in candidate age requirements for state legislative office across the United States may impact descriptive representational outcomes. Drawing on a unique dataset of all state legislative candidates and elected officials from 2018-2020, we investigate the degree to which macro-level factors, like age requirements, determine young adults’ numeric representation across state legislatures. Our research contributes to the literature on political representation and builds on recent scholarship within American Politics that focuses on young adults as elite political actors (see Lawless and Fox, 2015; Shames, 2017; Alter, 2019). It further speaks to ongoing debates about young-adult citizenship and the advancement of youth political engagement. Ultimately, we hope that our investigation promotes further consideration of age as a category of political marginalization and exclusion so that we may also begin investigating ways to increase young adult’s presence in legislative bodies.

European Consortium for Political Research
General Conference September, 2021

The Substantive Representation of Young People

Co-authored research project with Sarah Pauwels (University of Brussels). Planned presentation at ECPR General Conference 2021 (Virtual/Innsbruck)

In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the underrepresentation of young people (18 to 35-year-olds) in national legislatures. Much of this work has focused on the descriptive representation of young people leaving questions of substantive representation underexplored. Some research, however, indicates that young people have distinct interests stemming from their age, generational belonging, and from the long-term future consequences of current and past policies (Parker and Igielnik, 2020; Parker, Graf and Iegielnik, 2019; Alter, 2020). Moreover, that young politicians may behave differently than their older counterparts once in office, creating policies that are different and potentially more advantageous to their younger constituents (McClean, forthcoming; Alter, 2020). These insights provide an impetus for expanding questions of youth substantive representation as many questions remain concerning the extent of youth substantive representation as well as the means by which it occurs.

In this article we investigate if and how young politicians substantively represent young people in Belgium. We utilize qualitative content analysis to explore the substantive representational claims (Severs, 2012) made by young Belgian representatives and young party leaders in parliamentary questions. We look specifically for the ways these young officials represent young people’s interests. We focus on the period from March 2019 through December 2020, as many new young politicians were campaigning for the first time, and more young politicians than ever before were elected in the federal parliament. Moreover, young party leaders played a significant role in government formation during this period.