ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow
Dr Leah McCabe
University of Edinburgh
My thesis examined domestic abuse policy developments in Scotland (1998-2018). Using process tracing, frame analysis and interviews, it analysed the contexts and conditions under which change can occur. Internationally and domestically regarded as a policy leader, Scotland’s “success stories” of progressive policymaking and feminist advocacy are rooted in an approach that integrates gendered ideas and frames. The thesis complicated these narratives by exposing the existence of power inequalities within framing processes, internal movement contestations and external resistance, and their effects in (un)intentionally marginalising minoritized groups. Taking an intersectional and feminist institutionalist approach, it argued that the ‘early wins’ in gendering domestic abuse policy framing have paradoxically created path dependencies that constrain the advancement of newer intersectional frames. The SGSSS/ESRC Fellowship presented a unique opportunity to maximise the academic and real world impact of my thesis, and position me for the next stage of my academic career, enhancing my competitiveness for longer-term fellowships and lectureships. The two aims of the Fellowship were:
- To further the impact of my PhD research, producing publications and meeting the interest from academics and policy communities;
- To engage with existing and new audiences and build upon collaborations and networks.
Fellowship accomplishments / highlights:
The highlight of my Fellowship was my month-long institutional visit to the Department for Government, Uppsala University, Sweden. As someone who has been educated in Scotland and never lived abroad, it was a fantastic opportunity to gain a greater insight into both the academic and everyday life in another country. I was amazed at how easy it was to become enmeshed in the academic community at the university (special thanks to my hosts, Dr Elin Bjarnegård and Dr Josefina Erikson, and the Uppsala Gender and Politics group). While I was there I was very productive, finalising a draft of my journal article as well as presenting my work. It also broadened my horizons, and I am now considering working at a European university in the future (Sweden is currently at the top of my list!).
Advice for future fellows:
I would advise future fellows to find a mentor who is interested and invested in your work (and will put in the time to mentor you) and develop a close relationship with them throughout the year. I managed to get a lot out of the Fellowship because of the fantastic mentorship I received (thank you Prof Fiona Mackay). I would also encourage fellows to nurture a good relationship with your research office and grant administrator as they have great institutional knowledge and will help you out with the ins and outs of your grant (as well as future funding applications). Finally, if you wish to stay in academia then I would suggest you start thinking about future longer-term applications as soon as you begin so you are in a strong position when internal university deadlines arrive (and they come quicker than you think!).