Women and War: Ten Years On


Elshtain, Jean Bethke. 1998. “Women and War: Ten Years On.” Review of International Studies 24 (4): 447–60.

Author: Jean Bethke Elshtain


The questions with which I began and ended Women and War remain: How might we locate ourselves in order to create space for a less rigid play of individual and civic identities and virtues than those we have thus far known? What alternatives of citizenship can we draw upon? What perspectives within our reach offer hope for sustaining an ethos that extends the prospect of limiting force and the threat of force? In the book, I recommend a form of civic membership that cannot and does not place duty and loyalty to one's particular political body above all else; never theless, one that honours and gives ethical and civic weight precisely to that form of membership. I called this civic character a 'chastened patriot', one who is critical of the excesses of nationalism and critical, as well, of feminist arguments that express contempt for forms of identity as these are embodied in loyalties to ways of life shared by men and women. At the same time, this civic paragon of mine is also critical of those who defend particular ways of life in a way that generates contempt for the universalistic features of feminist concerns for the dignity and rights of woman. The 'chastened patriot' is one who understands and honours both universalistic and particularistic commitments, one for whom neither automatically trumps the other.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Citizenship, Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups

Year: 1998

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