Gender and the Poverty-Conflict Trap


McGary, Jessica L. 2012. “Gender and the Poverty-Conflict Trap.” PhD diss., University of Arizona.

Author: Jessica L. McGary


How does poverty relate to why internal armed conflicts occur and intensify? This dissertation explores gendered dimensions of poverty related to minor internal armed conflict onset in poor contexts and suggests pathways through which nutritional insecurity may mediate conflict escalation by amplifying real dimensions of poverty. This dissertation analyzes positive-feedback dimensions between poverty and internal armed conflict by asking how minor internal armed conflict may occur because of gendered dimensions of poverty obscured by a focus on income per capita. This dissertation frames the decision to rebel within impoverished contexts as an issue indivisibility problem and engenders the rationalist logic as masculinist. By assessing how changes in national patterns of divorced males may reflect lost access to gendered resources within households and by analyzing how gendered structures may instantiate masculinist reactions to the gendered dimensions of poverty, this dissertation elucidates how the real effects of poverty and violence may align to lay the foundations for the amplification of internal armed conflict through the conflict cycle. By identifying three pathways through which nutritional insecurity may operate, this dissertation contributes to our understanding of how countries may develop self-reinforcing patterns of real poverty and internal armed conflict. I argue that the willingness and ability to rebel in contexts of poverty may be partially affected by lost access to resources produced at household levels by forms of feminized labor, as well as to resources that are distributed with gender inequality. I argue that nutritional insecurity may be captured by examining levels of per capita protein from meat consumption and offer three mechanisms through which protein from meat per capita consumption may proxy nutritional insecurity within poor countries that experience minor internal armed conflict: the proliferation of security dilemmas as conditioned by minor internal armed conflict; the loss of soil fertility as an amplified function of fighting; and the reliance on food exports. I examine data on 186 countries in the 1961-2008 period to interrogate why some countries develop the dynamics associated with the poverty-conflict trap and to find general support of the hypotheses.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Health, Households, Livelihoods, Political Economies, Security, Food Security, Violence

Year: 2012

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