Armored Peacocks and Proxy Bodies: Gender Geopolitics in Aid/Development Spaces of Afghanistan


Fluri, Jennifer. 2011. “Armored Peacocks and Proxy Bodies: Gender Geopolitics in Aid/Development Spaces of Afghanistan.” Gender, Place & Culture 18 (4): 519–36. 

Author: Jennifer Fluri


This article examines embodied geopolitics in Afghanistan by way of gender roles and relations among and between international workers and Afghan recipients of international information, aid, development and (in)security. My analysis is theoretically situated within critical feminist geographies and includes empirical data collected from qualitative surveys, interviews, focus groups and observations of Afghans and international workers in Kabul, Afghanistan (2006–2008). There is a significant and growing number of scholarly feminist critiques of and debates over the US-led international coalition's gendered approach to ‘saving’ Afghanistan from the Taliban. This article seeks to add to these studies by discussing these geopolitical encounters at the scale of bodily interactions. Specifically, it discusses how gendered freedom and savior fantasies illustrate spatial practices of othering through exclusion and intimacy, before turning to how these are enacted through representation, behavior, mobility and sexuality.

Keywords: feminist geopolitics, Afghanistan, gender politics, aid/development, sex work, conflict

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Development, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations, Humanitarian Assistance, International Organizations, NGOs, Security, Human Security, Sexuality Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2011

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