Troubled Engagement in Ethnicized Conflict


Byrne, Siobhan. 2014. “Troubled Engagement in Ethnicized Conflict.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (1): 106–26. doi:10.1080/14616742.2012.757020.

Author: Siobhan Byrne


Feminist cross-community initiatives, which emerged in Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine in the 1980s, are frequently lauded in the gender and conflict literature as evidence of the ways in which women can work across ethnonational boundaries. In particular, the theory of ‘transversal dialogue’, developed by Nira Yuval-Davis and adopted by other feminist scholars and activists, suggests that participants have developed a mode of dialogue that enables them to acknowledge differences while developing common goals. In ethicized conflict, transversal politics is understood as an alternative to the essentializing of ‘identity politics’ as well as their undemocratic character. The empirical research, however, suggests that identity politics remains relevant for participants, particularly when cross-community dialogue is limited by external political realities and internal community divisions. In my view, understanding the ways in which identity politics contributes to the development of feminist goals related to women's inclusion in peace processes and post-conflict peace-building is not at odds with transversal politics; rather, women use both modes of politics to build feminist networks and tackle women's marginalization in hyper-masculinized and militarized zones of ethnicized conflict.

Keywords: cross-community feminist activism, ethnicized conflict, identity politics, Israel/Politics, Northern Ireland, transversalism

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Ireland, Israel

Year: 2014

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