Investigating “Missing” Women: Gender, Ghosts, and the Bosnian Peace Process


McLeod, Laura. 2019. "Investigating “Missing” Women: Gender, Ghosts, and the Bosnian Peace Process." International Studies Quarterly 63 (3): 668–79. 

Author: Laura McLeod


Women usually play a limited role in peace processes, at times because of deliberate efforts to marginalize them. As a result, academic and practitioner knowledge has focused on the absence of female bodies from peace processes. I argue that we can generate knowledge about women and peace processes by exploring both the ways that women are omitted and the enduring effects of their exclusion. I use the 1991–1995 Bosnian peace process, which culminated with the November 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement, to explore how we can find something meaningful at the site of “missing.” Avery Gordon's language of ghosts and haunting allows us to notice how women are made missing from stories of the Bosnian peace process. Ghosts also linger, allowing us to notice how the past of exclusion continues to shape contemporary activism in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Thus, by paying attention to the effects of being (made) missing we can understand how scholars and practitioners produce knowledge about women and gender. Following ghosts highlights that when we find something missing, it matters how it is missing. It is insufficient just to note the absence of women, whether from peace processes or from other political phenomena. Rather, we need to examine the consequences of their absence.

Topics: Gender, Women, Peace Processes Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2019

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