Cognitive Short Cuts

Citation:

Hutchings, Kimberly. 2008. “Cognitive Short Cuts.” In Rethinking the Man Question: Sex, Gender and Violence in International Relations, edited by Jane L. Parpart and Marysia Zalewski, 23–46. London: Zed Books.

Author: Kimberly Hutchings

Annotation:

Summary:
"The purpose of this chapter is to examine one of the reasons for this ongoing marginalization of feminist/gender concerns. I will argue that a key reason for the ongoing invisibility of women and gender in the theoretical frames through which post-cold-war international politics is grasped is the legitimizing function of masculinity discourses within those theories. My central claim is that masculinity operates as a resource for though in theorizing international politics. That is to say, masculinity operates as a kind of commonsense, implicit, often unconscious shorthand for processes of explanatory and normative judgement, thereby as one of the crucial ways in which our social scientific imagination is shaped and limited. I will explore how this works in two very influential but different accounts of contemporary international politics: the 'offensive' realism of Mearsheimer (The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, 2001) and the post-Marxist story of 'empire/multitude' in the work of Hardt and Negri (Empire, 2000). In conclusion, I will argue that one can hope, to paraphrase Ferguson, to loosen the hold of masculinity on meaning and life only once one has appreciated how much intellectual work is accomplished by masculinity's logical structure (Ferguson 1993: 29). Without the logic of masculinity, grand theorists of international politics would be required to work a great deal harder in order to persuade us of the accuracy of their diagnoses of the times" (Hutchings 2008, 23-24). 

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Masculinism

Year: 2008

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