North Korea

‘Cocked and Loaded’: Trump and the Gendered Discourse of National Security


Cohn, Carol. 2020. “‘Cocked and Loaded’: Trump and the Gendered Discourse of National Security.” In Language in the Trump Era: Scandals and Emergencies, edited by Janet McIntosh and Norma Mendoza-Denton, 179–90. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Author: Carol Cohn

Keywords: military language, North Korea, nuclear weapons, metaphor, euphemism, gender, masculinity, gender and language, national security, language and thought



On Jan 2, 2018, President Trump tweeted a taunt to Kim Jong-un of North Korea: “I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” This chapter connects Trump’s nuclear saber-rattling to broader patterns of militaristic language use among nuclear weapons scientists and strategists, as well as among past presidents. Professional and political discourse about nuclear weapons tends to be far removed from the human realities behind the weapons. Such dispassionate language is characterized by stunningly abstract and euphemistic language – and in part by a set of lively and misogynistic sexual metaphors. This linguistic framework seems to shape what can be said, or even thought, within the confines of these male-dominated discussions of war. Those who urge restraint in responding to a provocation or attack, for instance, are quickly impugned as sissies, and expressions of empathy denigrated as feminine. In this respect, Mr. Trump is not an exception. His fear of being perceived as unmanly may be closer to the surface, but gendered language that constrains our understanding of reality has long distorted the ways we think about international politics and national security. (Summary from publisher)

Topics: Gender, Femininity/ies, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: North Korea, United States of America

Year: 2020

International Women’s Organizations, Peace and Peacebuilding


Goodman, Joyce. 2019. “International Women’s Organizations, Peace and Peacebuilding.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Global Approaches to Peace, edited by Aigul Kulnazarova and Vesselin Popovski, 441–60. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Joyce Goodman


This chapter uses the published records of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) and of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) to analyze how the positioning of international women’s organizations around neutrality played out in organizational configurations of peace and peacebuilding. The chapter argues that the IFUW’s “disinterested” neutrality and the WIDF’s “active” neutrality connected to differing political views on equality, expertise, democracy, sovereignty and imperialism with consequences for the framing of the organizations’ peacebuilding activities and for their organizational links with Korea. The chapter uses the interactions of Kim Hawal-lan and Germaine Hannevart with Korea to conclude that women’s engagement with the peacebuilding initiatives of international women’s organizations should be seen as the outcome of a series of encounters.

Topics: Conflict, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Peacebuilding Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2019

Beyond Identity Lines: Women Building Peace in Northern Ireland and the Korean Peninsula


Kim, Dong Jin. 2019. "Beyond Identity Lines: Women Building Peace in Northern Ireland and the Korean Peninsula." Asia Europe Journal. doi: 10.1007/s10308-019-00551-5.

Author: Dong Jin Kim


This article explores the challenges and contributions of women in building and sustaining peace in protracted conflicts by conducting a comparative case study on Northern Ireland and Korea. Similarities in the histories of the conflicts and the concurrences in the peace processes have been attracting policy makers and researchers to share lessons between the Northern Ireland and Korean peace processes. However, the peacebuilding role of women and their transversal perspective have not yet received significant attention compared to the high-level agreements, signed predominantly by male politicians. This article identifies the similarities in the peacebuilding activities of women in Northern Ireland and Korea, in terms of their recognition of the interconnection between identity politics and patriarchy, building relationships across the divide through transversal dialogue, and initiating nonviolent peace movements against the militarism of their societies. The comparative case study also shows dissimilarities between the two cases, with regard to the freedom of women to move beyond boundaries, and being part of the official peace process. This article concludes the role of women in both contexts is a key element in sustainable peacebuilding; however, it appears that women’s peacebuilding would not be able to reach its full potential to break down violent structures in conflict-affected societies, as long as their transversal perspective remains at the level of social movement, not part of peacebuilding at all levels of societies, including high-level negotiations.

Keywords: women, gender, peacebuilding, peace process, Northern Ireland, Korea

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Asia, East Asia, Europe, Western Europe Countries: North Korea, South Korea, United Kingdom

Year: 2019

Junk Feminism and Nuclear Wannabes: Collaging Parodies of Iran and North Korea


Särmä, Saara. 2014. “Junk Feminism and Nuclear Wannabes: Collaging Parodies of Iran and North Korea.” PhD diss., Tampere University.

Author: Saara Särmä


Nuclear weapons have been a great source of intense negative sentiments, mainly fear, over the past 70 years. The intensity of these sentiments has fluctuated over the decades as the relative positions of and the relations between nuclear weapons states have shifted and changed. This doctoral dissertation deals with a different register of sentiments, equally familiar, but not often associated with the issue. It turns to sentiments that are more positive and examines laughter’s role in world politics. It focuses on the actors located at the bottom of the global nuclear order, namely nuclear wannabes. The global nuclear order is a hierarchy institutionalized in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which divides the world into nuclear haves and have-nots. Nuclear wannabes are those states that want to move from have-not to have by acquiring nuclear arsenals, i.e. Iran and North Korea. The dissertation explores (loosely western) everyday understandings of nuclear wannabes and argues that the global nuclear order is reproduced in humorous everyday representations of these states. It takes the internet and social media seriously as sites where everyday understandings are constituted. It argues that the knowledges produced in and through the internet are increasingly anecdotal and fragmented, and that humor and laughter play a role in the knowledge production and circulation. It looks at how laughter at actors depicted in internet parodies orders the global nuclear hierarchy, in particular, and orders the international more broadly. Furthermore, it examines the boundary conditions created by this laugher. The work situates theoretically in the transdisciplinary field of Feminist International Relations and sees gender as relational, performative, and hierarchical. To engage with the fragmented mode of knowledge and random collection of “stuff” (research material) an art based methodology is developed. Junk feminist collaging experiments with a playful mode of doing research, which advocates for openness and creativity in research; for modes of writing and expression that disrupt the hierarchical relationship with the author and the reader; and for doing research by making art. The collages created during the research process and presented as part of this dissertation are a unique intervention. This intervention challenges the priority of text over images in conventional academic modes of presenting research and invites the reader/viewer to participate actively in meaning making. The collages visualize the ways in which nuclear wannabes are gendered and sexualized, as these processes are central to the creation, recreation and maintenance of the hierarchical international order.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Regions: MENA, Asia, East Asia, Middle East Countries: Iran, North Korea

Year: 2014

Can Transnational Feminist Solidarity Accommodate Nationalism? Reflections from the Case Study of Korean “Comfort Women”


Herr, Ranjoo Seodu. 2015. “Can Transnational Feminist Solidarity Accommodate Nationalism? Reflections from the Case Study of Korean ‘Comfort Women.’” Hypatia 31 (1): 41–57.

Author: Ranjoo Seodu Herr


This article aims to refute the “incompatibility thesis” that nationalism is incompatible with transnational feminist solidarity, as it fosters exclusionary practices, xenophobia, and racism among feminists with conflicting nationalist aspirations. I examine the plausibility of the incompatibility thesis by focusing on the controversy regarding just reparation for SecondWorld War “comfort women,” which is still unresolved. The Korean Council at the center ofthis controversy, which advocates for the rights of Korean former comfort women, has been criticized for its strident nationalism and held responsible for the stalemate. Consequently, the case of comfort women has been thought to exemplify the incompatibility thesis. I argue against this common feminist perception in three ways: first, those who subscribe to the incom-patibility thesis have misinterpreted facts surrounding the issue; second, the Korean Council’s nationalism is a version of “polycentric nationalism,” which avoids the problems of essentialist nationalism at the center of feminist concerns; and, third, transnational feminist solidarity is predicated on the idea of oppressed/marginalized women’s epistemic privilege and enjoins that feminists respect oppressed/marginalized women’s epistemic privilege. To the extent that oppressed/marginalized women’s voices are expressed in nationalist terms, I argue that feminists committed to transnational feminist solidarity must accommodate their nationalism.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Nationalism, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2015

Peacekeeping and Prostitution in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo


Harrington, Carol. 2003. “Peacekeeping and Prostitution in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.” Paper presented at the 5th European Feminist Research Conference, Lund, August 20-23.

Author: Carol Harrington


This paper compares the organisation of sexual violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo during UN operations to the sexual violence associated with US military bases in the Republic of Korea (ROK) during the 1970s, while also drawing some comparisons with the way sexual violence was organised in wartime Yugoslavia. I argue that in all of these cases military men agree that soldiers are entitled to heterosexual encounters, and thus provide women for soldiers to have sex with, treating the women concerned as people whose well- being, dignity and bodily integrity is of no relevance at all. Such sexual violence appears to be institutionalised across contemporary militaries. However, the political logic that categorises women as people to be protected or as people who have no rights to bodily integrity differs across sites. My enquiry is based in a sociology of the body that treats sexual violence as political violence, thus I expect that the sexual categorisation and organisation of women for soldiers will reveal important aspects of the political order the militaries involved are defending. I will elaborate on this theoretical perspective in relation to the three cases in the course of my discussion. Through comparing these three military contexts I seek to understand how military thinkers in the case of Bosnia and Kosovo divided people in relation to physical security and rights to bodily integrity, and thus to uncover the logic of the political order these peacekeeping operations defended. (Intro)

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Peacekeeping, Peace Processes, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Violence Regions: Asia, East Asia, Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2003

A Study on Family Stability and Social Adjustment of North Korean Refugees and Women’s Role


Chang, Hyekyung, and Youngran Kim. 2002. “A Study on Family Stability and Social Adjustment of North Korean Refugees and Women’s Role.” Women's Studies International Forum 18: 137-59.

Authors: Hyekyung Chang, Youngran Kim

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2002

In/fertility among Korea’s "Comfort Women" Survivors: A Comparative Perspective


Soh, C. Sarah. 2006. “In/fertility among Korea’s ‘Comfort Women’ Survivors: A Comparative Perspective.” Women’s Studies International Forum 29 (1): 67–80. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2005.10.007.

Author: C. Sarah Soh


This article explores the social psychological and physiological impact of wartime military sexual slavery on postwar lives of former "comfort women" by analyzing Korean survivors’ testimonial narratives of han (long-held bitter resentment) and my multisite ethnographic research findings on the topic. Taking a comparative perspective of a "person-centered anthropology," it attempts to historicize the experiences of wartime enforced sexual labor and its impact on reproductive capacity in postwar marital lives among some Korean, Filipino, and Dutch survivors. [Soh] posit[s] the cumulative number (as well as the degree of roughness) of forced sexual intercourse–operationalized as the length of sexual servitude period–as a crucial factor in affecting the survivors’ reproductive successes in postwar marital lives. Other important intervening variables for survivors’ in/fertility that [Soh] theorize[s] include sexually transmitted diseases, reproductive disruptions, and exceptionally privileged treatment resulting in reduced sexual workload.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2006

Korean "Comfort Women": The Intersection of Colonial Power, Gender, and Class


Min, Pyong Gap. 2003. “Korean ‘Comfort Women’: The Intersection of Colonial Power, Gender, and Class.” Gender & Society 17 (6): 938–57.

Author: Pyong Gap Min


During the Asian and Pacific War (1937-45), the Japanese government mobilized approximately 200,000 Asian women to military brothels to sexually serve Japanese soldiers. The majority of these victims were unmarried young women from Korea, Japan’s colony at that time. In the early 1990s, Korean feminist leaders helped more than 200 Korean survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery to come forward to tell the truth, which has further accelerated the redress movement for the women. One major issue in the redress movement and research relating to the so-called “comfort women” issue is whether Japan’s colonization of Korea or gender hierarchy was a more fundamental cause of the Korean women’s suffering. Using an intersectional perspective, this article analyzes how colonial power, gender hierarchy, and class were inseparably tied together to make the victims’ lives miserable. By doing so, it shows that a one-sided emphasis on colonization or gender hierarchy will misrepresent the feminist political issue and misinterpret the “comfort women’s” experiences.

Keywords: sexual violence against women, colonial power, gender, class

Topics: Armed Conflict, Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan, North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2003

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