You Just Don’t Understand: Troubled Engagements Between Feminists and IR Theorists


Tickner, J. Ann. 1997. “You Just Don’t Understand: Troubled Engagements Between Feminists and IR Theorists.” International Studies Quarterly 41 (4): 611–32.

Author: J. Ann Tickner


This article reconstructs some conversational encounters between feminists and IR theorists and offers some hypotheses as to why misunderstandings so frequently result from these encounters. It claims that contemporary feminist perspectives on international relations are based on ontologies and epistemologies that are quite different from those that inform the conventional discipline. Therefore, they do not fit comfortably within conventional state-centric and structural approaches to IR theorizing, nor with the methodologies usually employed by IR scholars. As an illustration of how these differences can cause misunderstandings, the article offers some feminist perspectives on security, a concept central to the discipline. It also suggests how feminist approaches can offer some new ways to understand contemporary security problems. In conclusion, it suggests how feminist/IR engagements might be pursued more constructively.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Security

Year: 1997

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