Does ‘Gender’ Make the World go Round? Feminist Critiques of International Relations


Jones, Adam. 1996. “Does ‘Gender’ Make the World go Round? Feminist Critiques of International Relations.” Review of International Studies 22: 405–429.

Author: Adam Jones


In the last two decades, the classical tradition in international relations has come under sustained attack on a number of fronts, and from a diverse range of critics. Most recently, feminist thinkers, following in the footsteps of neo-Marxists and critical theorists, have denounced IR as ‘one of the most gender-blind, indeed crudely patriarchal, of all the institutionalized forms of contemporary social and political analysis’. Feminists have sought to subvert some of the most basic elements of the classical paradigm: the assumption of the state as a given; conceptions of power and ‘international security’; and the model of a rational human individual standing apart from the realm of lived experience, manipulating it to maximize his own self-interest. Denouncing standard epistemological assumptions and theoretical approaches as inherently ‘masculinist’, feminists, particularly those from the radical band of the spectrum, have advanced an alternative vision of international relations: one that redefines power as ‘mutual enablement’ rather than domination, and offers normative values of cooperation, care giving, and compromise in place of patriarchal norms of competition, exploitation, and self-aggrandizement.

Topics: Feminisms

Year: 1996

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