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Northern Europe

Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror'


Haritaworn, Jin, Tamsila Tauqir, and Esra Erdem. 2008. “Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror.’” In Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/raciality, edited by Adi Kuntsman and Esperanza Miyake, 71–95. York: Raw Nerve Books.

Authors: Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir, Esra Erdem


Our article focuses on the situation in Britain, where ‘Muslim’ and ‘homo-phobic’ are increasingly treated as interchangeable signifiers. The central figure in this process is Peter Tatchell who has successfully claimed the role of the liberator of and expert about Muslim gays and lesbians. This highlights the problems of a single-issue politics of representation, which equates ‘gay’ with white and ‘ethnic minority’ with heterosexual. At the same time, the fact that Tatchell’s group Outrage passes as the emblem of queer and hence post-identity politics in Britain shows that the problem of Islamophobia is not reducible to the critique of identity. The active participation of right- as well as left-wing, feminist as well as gay, official as well as civil powers in the Islamophobia industry proves racism more clearly than ever to be a white problem, which crosses other social and political differences.

Topics: Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, LGBTQ, Religion, Sexuality, Terrorism Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2008

Contentious Pluralism: The Public Sphere and Democracy


Guidry, John A., and Mark Q. Sawyer. 2003. “Contentious Pluralism: The Public Sphere and Democracy.” Perspectives on Politics 1 (2): 273–89.

Authors: John A. Guidry, Mark Q. Sawyer


What do peasants in eighteenth-century England, African Americans in Reconstruction-era Virginia, mothers in Nicaragua and Argentina, and contemporary transnational activists have to do with one another? They all illustrate instances where marginalized groups challenge a lack of democracy or the limitations of existing democracy. Democracy is both a process and a product of struggles against power. Both the social capital literature and literature that focuses on democracy as a product of institutions can undervalue the actions of regular people who imagine a democratic world beyond anything that actually exists. The four cases examined in this article demonstrate that marginalized groups use a variety of performative and subversive methods to uproot the public sphere from its exclusionary history as they imagine, on their own terms, democratic possibilities that did not previously exist. In so doing, they plant the seeds of a more egalitarian public politics in new times and places. This process is "contentious pluralism," and we ask political scientists in all subfields to look to popular movements and changing political structures as they explore the promise of democracy and to rethink the gap between democracy as an ideal and the ways in which people actually experience it.

Topics: Governance, Political Participation Regions: Americas, Central America, North America, South America, Europe, Northern Europe Countries: Argentina, Nicaragua, United Kingdom, United States of America

Year: 2003

Gender Ideology and Nationalism in the Culture and Politics of Iceland


Koester, David. 1995. “Gender Ideology and Nationalism in the Culture and Politics of Iceland.” American Ethnologist 22 (3): 572-88.

Author: David Koester

Topics: Gender, Women, Nationalism, Political Participation Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Iceland

Year: 1995

Looking at Gender Mainstreaming in the UK Government


Veitch, Janet. 2005. “Looking at Gender Mainstreaming in the UK Government.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 7 (4): 600–6.

Author: Janet Veitch

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Governance Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2005

Women as Agents of Political Violence: Gendering Security


Alison, Miranda. 2004. “Women as Agents of Political Violence: Gendering Security.” Security Dialogue 35 (4): 447-63.

Author: Miranda Alison


This article challenges the idea that women are necessarily more peaceful than men by looking at examples of female combatants in ethno-nationalist military organizations in Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland. Anti-state, liberatory nationalisms often provide more space (ideologically and practically) for women to participate as combatants than do institutionalized state or pro-state nationalisms, and this can be seen in the cases of the LTTE in Sri Lanka and the IRA in Northern Ireland when contrasted with loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. However, the role of the female combatant is ambiguous and indicates a tension between different conceptualizations of societal security, where female combatants both fight against societal insecurity posed by the state and contribute to internal societal insecurity within their ethno-national groups.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state armed groups, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia, Europe, Northern Europe Countries: Sri Lanka, United Kingdom

Year: 2004

Domesticating Military Masculinities: Home, Performance and the Negotiation of Identity


Atherton, Stephen. 2009. “Domesticating Military Masculinities: Home, Performance and the Negotiation of Identity.” Social & Cultural Geography 10 (8): 821-36.

Author: Stephen Atherton


Here, I explore the domestication of masculine identities that occurs within the British Army, and the transitions that take place upon re-entry into civilian life. Through oral accounts I highlight how men renegotiate their identity within the 'home' and within 'society' and seek to add to the debate on how we analyse a cultural repertoire of masculinities that are appropriate to particular places. In particular, I draw out: (1) how a domesticated body fit for purpose is created and maintained within the British Army; (2) how and with what effect an embodied routine and self-discipline is transferred into a home environment; and (3) the re-imaging of home life through the performance of these masculine identities.

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2009

Women’s Health, Changes and Challenges in Health Policy Development in Lithuania


Kalediene, Ramune, and Ruta Nadisauskiene. 2002. “Women’s Health, Changes and Challenges in Health Policy Development in Lithuania.” Reproductive Health Matters 10 (20): 117-26.

Authors: Ramune Kalediene, Ruta Nadisauskiene


Health is a sensitive mirror of social circumstances. This paper looks at the situation of women's health in Lithuania in the context of the social, political and economic transition in the country following independence in 1990, and reforms to the health system. Data since 1990 show that considerable social and demographic inequalities in the health of women exist in Lithuania, with low-educated women and those living in rural areas in the most unfavourable situation, including in relation to reproductive health. Reproductive health issues have received some recognition in recent years, with the main attention and resources directed to the development of a Maternal and Child Health Programme, especially perinatal care and the organisation of neonatology services, which has resulted in a notable decrease in maternal, perinatal and infant mortality. Services for family planning, abortion, infertility, cervical and breast cancer, and violence against women are under-developed. Non-governmental organizations are beginning to be formed to advocate for increased resources and services for reproductive health. Improvements in the health status of Lithuanian women can be expected if attention is paid to social determinants of health.

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Gender, Women, Girls, Boys, Health, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Baltic states, Northern Europe Countries: Lithuania

Year: 2002

Surveying Politics of Peace, Gender, Conflict and Identity in Northern Ireland: The Case of the Derry Peace Women in 1972


Callaghan, Marie Hammond. 2002. “Surveying Politics of Peace, Gender, Conflict and Identity in Northern Ireland: The Case of the Derry Peace Women in 1972.” Women’s Studies International Forum 25 (1): 33–49. doi:10.1016/S0277-5395(02)00216-9.

Author: Marie Hammond Callaghan


This article introduces the story of the Derry Peace Women (DPW) founded in May 1972, at the height of the contemporary Northern Irish conflict. Located in Catholic working-class nationalist and republican areas of Derry City and driven by civil rights aspirations as well as maternalist motivations, the DPW reflected some women’s efforts in one of the most severely affected areas of the North of Ireland to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. They appear to have played limited roles in facilitating republican cease-fires in 1972, as well as encouraging diplomatic efforts between republican paramilitaries and officials in the Northern Ireland government. However, fundamental structural inequalities, including gender conditions, in an increasingly polarised and militarised society, ultimately left them little political power or ‘room to manoeuvre’.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Nonviolence, Peace Processes, Political Participation Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2002

A Few Kind Women: Gender Essentialism and Nordic Peacekeeping Operations


Valenius, Johanna. 2007. “A Few Kind Women: Gender Essentialism and Nordic Peacekeeping Operations.” International Peacekeeping 14 (4): 510–23.

Author: Johanna Valenius


This article examines constructions of gender in UN documents and peace operations. The focus is on gender mainstreaming: the kinds of notion of men and women that are produced in gender mainstreaming and what kind of effect mainstreaming has. Based on an analysis of the key UN documents and the fieldwork among Finnish peacekeepers in Kosovo, the argument is that gender mainstreaming documents and practices tend to rely on essentialized notions of women as victims and inherently peaceful. The consequences of this are twofold. On the one hand the international community is not able to see local women as agents of their own future. On the other, the participation of women in peacekeeping forces is promoted on the basis of an alleged pacifying effect on their male colleagues. As a result traditional gender roles are reinforced and the variations in masculinities and femininities are ignored.

Topics: Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Discourses, International Organizations, Peacekeeping, Peace Processes Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Finland

Year: 2007

Poor Quality of Life and Health in Young to Middle Aged Bosnian Female War Refugees: A Population-Based Study


Sundquist, Jan, Alija Behmen-Vincevic, and Sven-Erik Johansson. 1998. “Poor Quality of Life and Health in Young to Middle Aged Bosnian Female War Refugees: A Population-Based Study.” Public Health 112 (1): 21–26. doi:10.1038/

Authors: Jan Sundquist, Alija Behmen-Vincevic, Sven-Erik Johansson


Objective: To evaluate whether female Bosnian refugees have a poorer quality of life than Swedish women.

Design: A cross-sectional study of quality of life using a slightly modified ‘Göteborg Quality of Life’ instrument. The women rated their global well-being (19 items) on a 7-degree scale ranging from ‘very bad’ (1) ‘to excellent, could not be better’. The second part of the questionnaire consisted of 29 yes/no items about somatic and psychological symptoms which should take less than 5 min to complete. Factor analysis was performed in order to reduce the number of variables. Differences between mean ranks were tested by the Kruskal–Wallis test. Differences in distributions of the yes/no-questions in the different groups were tested with a likelihood ratio χ2 test.

Setting: Malmö and Lund, two cities in Southern Sweden.

Subjects: A simple random sample of 120 women aged 18–59, born in Bosnia-Hercegovina with accepted refugee status, and registered in Lund and Malmö, was interviewed. The control group for this was 292 Swedish women of the same age, registered in Dalby (Lund). The response rate for Bosnian women was 74% and for Swedish women 75%.

Main outcome measures: The factor analysis resulted in one factor, ‘global health’, to which all the well-being variables were related.

Results: 38% of the Bosnian and 23% of the Swedes had bad global health. Bosnian women with bad global health had lower mean rankings than Swedish women, namely low quality of life in ‘appetite’, ‘memory’, ‘leisure time’, and aspects of mental well-being such as ‘energy’, ‘patience’, ‘sleep’, ‘mood’, and ‘health’. They also had larger proportions of symptoms than Swedish women.

Conclusions: Bosnian women irrespective of health status had a poorer quality of life in most variables and more symptoms than Swedish women with good global health.

Keywords: Bosnian refugees, quality of life, cross-sectional study, female health

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Sweden

Year: 1998


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