Confronting a Disciplinary Blindness: Women, War and Rape in the International Politics of Security


Lee-Koo, Katrina. 2002. “Confronting a Disciplinary Blindness: Women, War and Rape in the International Politics of Security.” Australian Journal of Political Science 37 (3): 525–36.

Author: Katrina Lee-Koo


Much of the debate surrounding the inclusion of women in the study of international politics, particularly in reflections of war, promotes passive representation. State-sanctioned images of non-combatant women in supportive wartime roles reflect, rather than confront, traditional conceptualisations of ‘legitimate knowledge’ and ways of knowing. Therefore, estimates that 30,000 women were raped during the war in Bosnia shocked the international community. Yet it shouldn’t. War rape is as old as war itself. This article looks at why, and how, traditional forms of theorising about international politics fails to identify or vocalise the violent insecurities of women in domestic and international space, thus ensuring women’s silence. It also draws on alternative ways of knowing to confront the tradition and to un/recover the experiences of women.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2002

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