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Problematizing Military Masculinity, Intersectionality and Male Vulnerability in Feminist Critical Military Studies


Henry, Marsha. 2017. “Problematizing Military Masculinity, Intersectionality and Male Vulnerability in Feminist Critical Military Studies.” Critical Military Studies 3 (2): 182-99.

Author: Marsha Henry


Recent work on the multiplicity of masculinities within specific military contexts deploys the concept of intersectionality in order to draw attention to the hierarchies present in military organizations or to acknowledge male vulnerability in situations of war and conflict. While it is important to examine the breadth and depth of masculinity as an ideology and practice of domination, it is also important for discussions of military masculinity, and intersectionality, to be connected with the ‘originary’ black feminist project from which intersectionality was born. This may indeed reflect a more nuanced and historically attuned account of such concepts as intersectionality, but also black and double consciousness, standpoint and situated knowledges. In particular, what happens when concepts central to feminist theorizing and activism suddenly become of use for studying dominant groups such as male military men? What are our responsibilities in using these concepts in unexpected and perhaps politically questionable ways? This article looks at recent feminist theorizing on intersectionality, and several examples of the use of intersectionality in relation to masculinity and the military, and finally suggests some cautionary ways forward for rethinking militaries, masculinities, and feminist theories.

Keywords: military masculinity, militarised masculinities, intersectionality, gender, race, class, vulnerability, marginal, privilege

Topics: Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Men, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, intersectionality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Race

Year: 2017

The Politics of Counting and Reporting Conflict-Related Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: the Case of Myanmar


Davies, Sara E., and Jacqui True. 2017. “The Politics of Counting and Reporting Conflict-Related Sexual and Gender-Based Violence: the Case of Myanmar.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 19 (1): 4-21.

Authors: Sara E. Davies, Jacqui True


Scholars, states and international organizations have begun to systematically count, document and compare sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in conflict-affected countries. Qualitative and quantitative studies point to a “tip of the iceberg” phenomenon, where there is a high prevalence but low level of actual reporting of SGBV. We investigate the conditions in which SGBV is reported or, more significantly, is not reported to discover the trends of reporting in politically oppressive environments where SGBV is thought to be occurring. We ask how the power to report in local conflict-affected areas is affected by national political tensions and pervasive gender discrimination. Reporting of SGBV in Myanmar, a country that has experienced multiple, protracted conflicts since independence, is examined. Analysis of open-access reports over a fifteen-year period reveals a pattern of silence that we argue is rooted in pervasive discriminatory civil and physical practices against women. Engaging with the deeply politicized and gender discriminatory context of conflict-affected societies enables us to see the anomalies of SGBV data and to highlight significant gaps in our knowledge about SGBV.

Keywords: ethnic conflict, human rights reporting, feminist methodology, Myanmar, Conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence

Topics: Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, conflict, Post-Conflict, Rights, Human Rights, Property Rights, Sexual Violence Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar

Year: 2017

Laboring above Ground: Indigenous Women in New Spain’s Silver Mining District, Zacatecas, Mexico, 1620-1770


Murillo, Dana Velasco. 2013. “Laboring above Ground: Indigenous Women in New Spain’s Silver Mining District, Zacatecas, Mexico, 1620-1770.” Hispanic American Historical Review 93 (1): 3–32. doi:10.1215/00182168-1902778.

Author: Dana Velasco Murillo


This article considers the roles and experiences of indigenous women in the silver mining town of Zacatecas, Mexico, from the early seventeenth century through the late colonial period (1620–1770). Indigenous women of all ages and civil statuses migrated and settled in Zacatecas through the colonial period. Using Spanish sources, this article highlights the importance of their contributions to the production of silver and to the settlement of the city and its four Indian towns. It argues for a broader understanding of the labor involved in silver production to include activities performed outside the mines by women. Some of this work involved the preparation and distribution of goods and foodstuffs and basic housekeeping at mining haciendas, and women’s engagement with small-scale trade, market activities, and the management of properties in the city. Indian women also contributed to the vitality of the city and its Indian communities, migrating and settling in Zacatecas in large numbers even during periods of mining declines. Within these communities, episodes of high male absenteeism often left Indian women in charge of their households. As primary caretakers, they cared for their children and often used legal measures to protect them from abusive labor practices common to mining towns. Ultimately, this article argues that indigenous women’s roles above ground were as important as those performed by their male, silver-extracting counterparts below ground. (Abstract from Hispanic American Historical Review)

Topics: Economies, Ethnicity, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2013

What is the Sex Doing in the Genocide? A Feminist Philosophical Response


Schott, Robin May. 2015. “What is the Sex Doing in the Genocide? A Feminist Philosophical Response.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 22 (4): 397-411.

Author: Robin May Schott


This article reviews the literature on Holocaust and genocide studies to consider the question, ‘what is the sex doing in the genocide?’ Of the three answers usually given: (1) sexual violence is like other forms of genocidal violence, (2) sexual violence is a coordinate in genocide and (3) sexual violence is integral to genocidal violence, the author argues for the third position, but takes issue with Catharine MacKinnon’s claim that sexual violence destroys women as a group, thereby destroying the ethnic, racial, religious, or national group to which women belong. Drawing on Hannah Arendt’s concept of natality, the author argues that sexual violence is an attack on a fundamental condition for the possibility of the existence of human groups. When political violence is used to force biological birth in the service of death, it is a form of thanatonatality.

Keywords: genocide, Holocaust, natality, sexual violence, thanatonatality

Topics: Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, conflict, Genocide, Race, Religion, Sexual Violence, SV against women, Violence

Year: 2015

Heroines of Gendercide: The Religious Sensemaking of Rape and Abduction in Aramean, Assyrian and Chaldean Migrant Communities


Mutlu-Numansen, Sofia, and Ringo Ossewaarde. 2015. “Heroines of Gendercide: The Religious Sensemaking of Rape and Abduction in Aramean, Assyrian and Chaldean Migrant Communities.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 22 (4): 428-442. 

Authors: Sofia Mutlu-Numansen, Ringo Ossewaarde


This study seeks to understand a diaspora community narrative of rape and abduction suffered during the genocidal massacre of 1915 in the Ottoman Empire and its aftermath. Based on interviews with 50 Aramean, Assyrian and Chaldean migrants in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, whose families are from the village of Bote, known as one of the ‘killing fields’ in southeast Turkey, the article explores the ways in which descendants remember the ‘forgotten genocide’ of Aramean, Assyrian and Chaldean communities in 1915. The research reveals that the descendants of survivors make sense of the sexual violence experienced in Bote mainly through a religious narrative and that, for them, the genocide is, in spite of all the sufferings the males had to go through, a feminized event. In their gendercide narrative, the abducted and raped women are identified as the ‘heroines’ of the genocide.

Keywords: Armenian genocide, feminization, gendercide, migration, narrative, post-genocide, sexual violence

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, conflict, Genocide, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, SV against women, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: MENA, Asia, Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Turkey

Year: 2015

Invisible Victims? Where are Male Victims of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in International Law and Policy?


Gorris, Ellen Anna Philo. 2015. “Invisible Victims? Where are Male Victims of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in International Law and Policy?” European Journal of Women’s Studies 22 (4): 412-427. 

Author: Ellen Anna Philo Gorris


In this article the author argues that men and boys have been historically and structurally rendered an invisible group of victims in international human rights and policy responses towards conflict-related sexual violence stemming from the United Nations. The apparent female-focused approach of instruments on sexual violence is criticized followed by a discussion – through analysis and interviews with legal scholars and champions for the recognition of male survivors’ experiences – of the first ‘emergence’ of male victims in these instruments and key actors involved in this process. The existing serious dichotomy between visible and invisible victims is prominently based on their ‘gender identity’ and leads to structural discrimination of male victims of rape or other forms of sexual violence. To overcome this situation and develop more inclusive instruments, a reconceptualization is needed of the meaning and use of words like ‘gender’ and ‘gender-based violence’. Additionally, a more intersectional approach to sexual violence should be adopted, understanding that victims have a multitude of identities such as ethnicity or religious affiliation that make them particularly vulnerable to suffering.

Keywords: sexual violence, male victims, human rights, conflict, gender, intersectionality, women, women, peace, and Security

Topics: Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Men, Boys, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, conflict, intersectionality, Religion, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820, UNSCR 1888, UNSCR 1889, UNSCR 1960, UNSCR 2106, UNSCR 2122, Sexual Violence, SV against men

Year: 2015

Contested Development in Indonesia: Rethinking Ethnicity and Gender in Mining


Großmann, Kristina, Martina Padmanabhan, and Katharina von Braun. 2017. “Contested Development in Indonesia: Rethinking Ethnicity and Gender in Mining.” Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies 10 (1): 11–28. doi:10.14764/10.ASEAS-2017.1-2.

Authors: Kristina Großmann, Martina Padmanabhan, Katharina von Braun


This article reviews the literature on the relationship between gender and ethnicity in Indonesia’s mining sector and outlines shortcomings and prospects for further research. Recent studies on mining and gender focus predominantly on women and how they are negatively affected by mining. Ethnicity, although a growing asset in struggles on environmental transformations, is hardly included in research on mining. The intertwinement of ethnicity and gender in elaborations on mining is often depicted in literature of development programs and environmental organizations in which indigenous women are homogenized as marginalized victims. We argue, however, for a multidimensional approach on mining that takes into account the institutionalization of gender and ethnicity in mining governance as well as the role of gender and ethnic identities. Feminist political ecology and institutional analysis are pointing the way for such an approach. Furthermore, other relevant categories such as class, age, or status should be considered in the analysis of the complex and multidimensional environmental transformations of the mining sector in Indonesia.

Keywords: ethnicity, feminist political ecology, Indonesia, institutions, mining

Topics: Age, Class, Environment, Ethnicity, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Women Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Indonesia

Year: 2017

Company–Community Agreements, Gender and Development


Keenan, J. C., D. L. Kemp, and R. B. Ramsay. 2014. “Company–Community Agreements, Gender and Development.” Journal of Business Ethics 135 (4): 607–15. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2376-4.

Authors: J.C. Keenan, D. L. Kemp, R. B. Ramsay


Company–community agreements are widely considered to be a practical mechanism for recognising the rights, needs and priorities of peoples impacted by mining, for managing impacts and ensuring that mining-derived benefits are shared. The use and application of company–community agreements is increasing globally. Notwithstanding the utility of these agreements, the gender dimensions of agreement processes in mining have rarely been studied. Prior research on women and mining demonstrates that women are often more adversely impacted by mining than men, and face greater challenges in accessing development opportunities that mining can bring. Nonetheless, there is currently little guidance for companies, government or communities in bringing a gender perspective to the fore in mining and agreement processes. It is undisputed in human development literature that investment in women and sensitivity to gender delivers long-term health, education and local development outcomes. In mining and development, a number of key factors remain unexplored. These include: women’s participation in agreement processes, the gendered distribution of agreement benefits, and the extent to which impacts and benefits influence women’s development and economic inclusion. This paper presents the results of the first phase of an applied research project undertaken by the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) at The University of Queensland and funded by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The project sought to connect with experienced practitioners who had been directly involved in mining and agreement processes to document and analyse grounded perspectives on gender dynamics and agreements, and connect those experiences with the broader literature. Findings from this study have implications for the role of mining companies and governments in promoting gender equality and empowerment as part of their commitments to sustainable development. They also have implications for community groups and their representatives in terms of how they might engage in agreement processes to maximise women’s participation and influence. In many social contexts, a key challenge will be navigating the territory of cultural norms and gender equality, particularly in cultures where women’s influence in the public sphere is not strong. The authors argue that without consideration of a gender perspective, including gender’s intersection with other factors such as class, race, poverty level, ethnic group and age, mining agreements will not be inclusive, may exacerbate gender inequalities, and fail to contribute to long-term sustainable development.

Keywords: agreements, community, gender, development, social inclusion, mining, corporate social responsibility

Topics: Age, Class, Development, Economies, Poverty, Ethnicity, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Race

Year: 2014

Feminism, Nationalism, and Labour in Post-Civil War Northern Province of Sri Lanka


Sarvananthan, Muttukrishna, Jeyapraba Suresh, and Anushani Alagarajah. 2017. “Feminism, Nationalism, and Labour in Post-Civil War Northern Province of Sri Lanka.” Development in Practice 27 (1): 122–28.

Authors: Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, Jeyapraba Suresh, Anushani Alagarajah


English Abstract:
This viewpoint highlights the paradox of low labour force participation and high unemployment among women at a time of growing educational levels of women in the former conflict-affected Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It highlights the rise of ethno-feminism and sub-nationalism that undermine what few opportunities open up for women in terms of employment and livelihood opportunities, thereby weakening the peacebuilding efforts of various stakeholders.
French Abstract:
Ce point de vue met l’accent sur le paradoxe de la faible participation de la force active et du chômage élevé parmi les femmes, à un moment où les niveaux d’éducation chez les femmes sont de plus en plus élevés dans la province Nord du Sri Lanka, anciennement affectée par la guerre civile. Il souligne l’émergence de l’ethno-féminisme et du sous-nationalisme qui sapent les quelques opportunités offertes aux femmes en matière d’emploi et de moyens d’existence, affaiblissant ainsi les efforts de consolidation de la paix de divers intervenants.
Spanish Abstract:
Este punto de vista resalta la paradoja resultante de la baja inserción de mujeres en la fuerza laboral y el alto desempleo femenino en un momento en que se ha elevado el nivel de escolaridad de las mismas en la Provincia Norte de Sri Lanka, anteriormente afectada por el conflicto. En este sentido, el artículo destaca el surgimiento del etnofeminismo y el subnacionalismo, que socavan las pocas oportunidades que se van dando para las mujeres en términos de empleo y de medios de vida, debilitando de esta forma los esfuerzos que varios actores realizan para construir la paz.

Keywords: South Asia, Labour and livelihoods, Gender and Diversity, Conflict and Reconstruction, Aid-Development policies

Topics: Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Nationalism, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2017

"Go Back and Tell Them Who the Real Men Are!" Gendering Our Understanding of Kibera's Post-Election Violence


Kihato, Caroline Wanjiku. 2015. “'Go Back and Tell Them Who the Real Men Are!' Gendering Our Understanding of Kibera’s Post-Election Violence.” International Journal of Conflict and Violence 9 (1): 12-24.

Author: Caroline Wanjiku Kihato


Using a gendered analysis, this article examines the post election violence (PEV) in Kibera, Kenya, between December 2007 and February 2008. Through indepth interviews with Kibera residents, the article interrogates how gender influenced violent mobilizations in Kenya’s most notorious slum. Most scholarly analyses have tended to understand the post-election violence as a result of politicized ethnic identities, class, and local socio-economic dynamics. Implicitly or explicitly, these frameworks assume that women are victims of violence while men are its perpetrators, and ignore the ways in which gender, which cuts across these categories, produces and shapes conflict. Kibera’s conflict is often ascribed to the mobilization of disaffected male youths by political “Big Men.” But the research findings show how men, who would ordinarily not go to war, are obliged to fight to “save face” in their communities and how women become integral to the production of violent exclusionary mobilizations. Significantly, notions of masculinity and femininity modified the character of Kibera’s conflict. Acts of gender-based violence, gang rapes, and forced circumcisions became intensely entwined with ethno-political performances to annihilate opposing groups. The battle for political power was also a battle of masculinities.

Keywords: conflict, xenophobia, violence

Topics: Class, Ethnicity, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Governance, Elections, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2015


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