PhD Graduate Elise Maiolino on Identity Work in Olivia Chow's Mayoral Campaign

January 23, 2019 by Nico Golinski

PhD Graduate Elise Maiolino published an article in the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy that examines Olivia Chow's mayoral campaign. The piece argues that racism and sexism within political campaigns requires women and people of colour to put in additional "identity work" not required by their white, male counterparts.

Elise Maiolino obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto in 2017. Her research combines analyses of power and authority with feminist analyses of identity to understand the role of identity in Canadian politics.

We have posted the citation and the abstract of the article below. The full text is available through the University of Toronto Library Portal here.

Maiolino, Elise. 2018. "I'm Not Male, Not White, Want to Start There?: Olivia Chow and Identity Work in Toronto's 2014 Mayoral Election." Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, 39(2):220-245.

This article uses sociological theories of identity work to extend the research on political leadership. Focusing on Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow—a high-profile progressive politician, an instant frontrunner, and a stark contrast to Mayor Rob Ford’s populist conservative agenda—this article argues that Chow was required to negotiate and mobilize identity in ways that were different from her white male opponents. Based on an intersectional analysis of participant observation in twenty mayoral debates, this article offers three concepts that illuminate forms of identity work on the campaign trail: dispositional requirements, ideological alignment, and political compensatory labour. This article illustrates that the racist and sexist terrain of politics requires a complex set of decisions and actions on the part of marginalized candidates.

Read the full article here.