Governing Codes

Gender, Metaphor, and Political Identity

By (author) Karrin Vasby Anderson, Kristina Horn Sheeler

Publication date:

23 August 2005

Length of book:

244 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739110225

Familiar narratives and simplistic stereotypes frame the representation of women in U.S. politics. Pervasive containment rhetorics, such as the distinction between women as mothers and caregivers and men as rational thinkers, create unique hurdles for any woman seeking public office. While these 'governing codes' generally act to constrain female political power, they can also be harnessed as a resource depending on the particular circumstances (e.g., party affiliation, geographic location and personal style). One of these governing codes, the metaphor, is an especially powerful tool in politics today, particularly for women. By examining the political careers of four of the most prominent and influential women in contemporary U.S. politics_Democrats Ann Richards and Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republicans Christine Todd Whitman and Elizabeth Dole_Karrin Vasby Anderson and Kristina Horn Sheeler illustrate how metaphors in public discourse may be both familiar narratives to embrace and boundaries to overturn.
Governing Codes: Gender, Metaphor, and Political Identity makes a significant scholarly contribution. The depth and breadth of the authors' research is impressive. The prose is engaging and the extensive use of examples insightful. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in political communication, gender studies, media, and language use.