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'People Want to See Tears’: Military Heroes and the ‘Constant Penelope’ of the UK’s Military Wives Choir

Citation:

Cree, Alice. 2020. “'People Want to See Tears’: Military Heroes and the ‘Constant Penelope’ of the UK’s Military Wives Choir.” Gender, Place & Culture 27 (2): 218–38. 

Author: Alice Cree

Abstract:

This article offers a feminist analysis of the UK’s Military Wives Choir as a vehicle for depicting the subject of the ‘Penelope’ military wife. The Penelope subject is characterised by patriotic feminine stoicism, and is a figure through which the masculine military hero is created and reflected. This paper will use the example of the Military Wives Choir to the argue that the making of the Penelope military wife subject in the national imagination is an important means through which women married to servicemen are rendered useful for the military. Drawing on primary fieldwork with the Plymouth branch of the choir alongside an analysis of secondary material such as song lyrics and Gareth Malone’s BBC television programme The Choir: Military Wives, my discussion will centre on three themes; lyrics & music, history & time of the state, and violence & representation. By discussing the making of the Penelope subject through these lenses, this paper will contend that there are clear, yet often nuanced, forms of violence at work in the representation of the choir. And yet, as this article will conclude, in order to shed a more textured light on this violence what is needed is a critical and in-depth engagement with the lived experiences of the women of the choir.

Keywords: critical military studies, feminist geopolitics, military wives, military wives choir, gender

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Nationalism, Violence Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2020

Sustainable Development, Energy Transition, and Climate Challenges in the Context of Gender: The Framework of Gender Determinants of Environmental Orientation in Poland

Citation:

Żuk, Piotr, and Anna Pacześniak. 2020. “Sustainable Development, Energy Transition, and Climate Challenges in the Context of Gender: The Framework of Gender Determinants of Environmental Orientation in Poland.” Sustainability 12 (21). doi:10.3390/su12219214.

Authors: Piotr Żuk, Anna Pacześniak

Abstract:

How does gender affect attitudes towards ecology? This question is of particular interest in a society where conservative and populist power elites perceive the concepts of “gender” and “ecology” as manifestations of “foreign” cultural influences. In turn, the dependence of the Polish energy system on coal forces us to look for various social factors that may support energy transition and the principles of sustainable development. The article outlines the results of computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) research on a representative sample of Polish society composed of 1.001 people and analyses the gender differentiation of attitudes towards the policy of sustainable development in Poland. The results presented in this article clearly show that women in Poland constitute an important support for ecological activities and energy transition. This is also the case with the entire progressive vision of politics: Women have become its main driver and an opportunity for change.

Keywords: climate change, development, ecology, energy transition, gender

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Europe, Central Europe Countries: Poland

Year: 2020

Bringing Diversity to Nature: Politicizing Gender, Race and Class in Environmental Organizations?

Citation:

Arora-Jonsson, Seema, and Mia Ågren. 2019. “Bringing Diversity to Nature: Politicizing Gender, Race and Class in Environmental Organizations?” Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 2: 874–98.

Authors: Seema Arora-Jonsson, Mia Ågren

Abstract:

Environmental organizations play an important role in mainstream debates on nature and in shaping our environments. At a time when environmental NGOs are turning to questions of gender-equality and ethnic diversity, we analyze their possibilities to do so. We argue that attempts at ethnic and cultural diversity in environmental organizations cannot be understood without insight into the conceptualizations of nature and the environment that underpin thinking within the organization. Serious attempts at diversity entail confronting some of the core values on nature-cultures driving the organization as well as understanding the dimensions of power such as class, gender, and race that structure its practices. We study what nature means for one such organization, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, and the ways in which thinking about nature dictates organizational practice and sets the boundaries of their work with diversity in their projects on outdoor recreation. We base our analysis on official documents and interviews, analyze how “diversity” and “gender-equality” are represented in the material and reflect on the interconnections as well as the different trajectories taken by the two issues. Our study shows that the organization’s understanding of nature is a central and yet undiscussed determinant of their work with diversity that closes down as much as it opens up the space for greater inclusion of minorities. We argue that for environmental organizations wanting to diversity membership, a discussion of what nature means for people and their relationships to each other and nature is vital to any such efforts.

Keywords: diversity, gender, class, environmental organizations, whiteness, environmental justice

Topics: Class, Environment, Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Equality/Inequality, NGOs, Race Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2019

Women-to-Women Diplomacy in Georgia: A Peacebuilding Strategy in Frozen Conflict

Citation:

Cárdenas, Magda Lorena. 2019. “Women-to-Women Diplomacy in Georgia: A Peacebuilding Strategy in Frozen Conflict.” Civil Wars 21 (3): 385–409.

Author: Magda Lorena Cárdenas

Abstract:

This research explores strategies led by women's grassroots organisations and discusses how they can offer opportunities for peacebuilding in frozen conflict settings such as Georgia and the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. These conflicts are related to separatist aspirations which are based, on the surface, on ethnic differences. However, the precedent of inter-ethnic dialogue shows that there is not an inherent ‘us-against-them’ narrative separating Georgia from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Therefore, it is possible to create alternative arenas for dialogue and mutual understanding among the parties. To this end, this study adopts a broad approach to peacebuilding as a process of social transformation of hostile attitudes and exclusive narratives. I argue that women-to-women diplomacy is a peacebuilding strategy with the potential to address the roots of polarisation by humanising the other and identifying common ground for cooperation and inter- ethnic dialogue. The empirical research based on the experiences of women’s organisations in Georgia illustrates the contribution of women-to-women diplomacy to peacebuilding as an alternative platform for coalition building based on the common goal of achieving equal rights.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Civil Society, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peacebuilding Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Georgia

Year: 2019

Gender and Climate-Induced Migration in the Mediterranean: From Resilience to Peace and Human Security

Citation:

Braham, Monia. 2018. “Gender and Climate-Induced Migration in the Mediterranean: From Resilience to Peace and Human Security.” In MediTerra: Migration and Inclusive Rural Development in the Mediterranean, 181-207. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po.

Author: Monia Braham

Abstract:

Summary:
“The research presented in the following sections explores the interaction between gender, migration and climate change, as well as the way forward for a proactive protection of climate migrants in the cases of countries of origin, transit and destination through the Mediterranean routes in addition to the protection of those considered as internally displaced persons within southern and eastern Mediterranean countries after extreme weather events leading usually to conflicts. This chapter will attempt to explore the causal link between migration and climate change through gender lenses. Three main questions drove the research: What are the links between gender, migration and climate change in the context of the Mediterranean region? What are the inclusive policies that we need to identify as responses for internally displaced persons among men, women, boys and girls at national level and the particular protection challenges for cross border movements of climate migrants through the different routes in the Mediterranean? Finally, how will international agendas on gender, climate change, migration and sustainable development proactively protect climate migrants and seek durable solutions to displacement and climate-induced migration in the Mediterranean region?” (Braham 2018, 184).

Topics: Development, Displacement & Migration, Climate Displacement, IDPs, Migration, Environment, Climate Change, Gender Regions: Europe, Southern Europe

Year: 2018

Gender Equality in European Union Development Policy in Times of Crisis

Citation:

Allwood, Gill. 2019. "Gender Equality in European Union Development Policy in Times of Crisis." Political Studies Review 18 (3). doi: 10.1177/1478929919863224.

Author: Gill Allwood

Abstract:

Gender equality is firmly established on the European Union development policy agenda. However, a series of interrelated crises, including migration, security and climate change, are becoming more prominent in European Union development policy. This article asks whether development objectives have been subsumed under these crisis-driven European Union priorities, whether this is compatible with efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment through development cooperation and whether it will affect the ability to keep gender equality high on the European Union’s development policy agenda. The theoretical framework draws on horizontal policy coordination and nexuses. The analysis of European Union development policy documents shows how migration, security and climate change are constructed as crises, how they intersect in various nexuses and how gender intersects with each of these nexuses. This research finds that gender equality is absent from the migration–security–climate nexuses, which are increasingly driving development policy priorities. The article argues that it is quite straightforward to keep gender equality on the development policy agenda, but it is difficult to retain a focus on gender equality when multiple policy areas intersect. The research suggests that the discourse of crisis has blocked the way, and this will have an impact on the European Union’s internal and external activities.

Keywords: gender mainstreaming, European Union development policy, horizontal policy coordination

Topics: Development, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Security Regions: Europe

Year: 2019

Navigating to Subsistence: The Gendered Struggles in the Postwar Everyday and Their Implications for Peace

Citation:

Stavrevska, Elena B. 2020. “Navigating to Subsistence: The Gendered Struggles in the Postwar Everyday and Their Implications for Peace.” Politics & Gender 16 (3). doi:10.1017/S1743923X20000355

Author: Elena B. Stavrevska

Annotation:

Summary:
In developing a feminist analysis of postwar political economic practices and institutions, my contribution builds on previous Critical Perspectives forums in following Cynthia Enloe’s call (2015, 438) to make sense of people’s gendered political lives while embracing their “messiness” and Rahel Kunz’s (2017) argument for placing life stories at the center of analysis. It focuses on the everyday life of female petty traders involved in the coping economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), including those working at the (in)famous Arizona market in Brčko. By taking postwar gendered everyday experiences seriously, my contribution highlights the need for a gender-just, holistic approach to designing postwar reparative justice measures, labor market interventions, and integration of coping economic practices.

Topics: Economies, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gender, Women, Justice, Reparations, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2020

The Forgotten Lives: Connecting Gender, Security, and Everyday Livelihoods in Ukraine’s Conflict

Citation:

O’Sullivan, Mila. 2020. “The Forgotten Lives: Connecting Gender, Security, and Everyday Livelihoods in Ukraine’s Conflict.” Politics & Gender 16 (3). doi:10.1017/S1743923X20000343

Author: Mila O'Sullivan

Annotation:

Summary:
Recent debates within Women, Peace and Security (WPS) scholarship (e.g., Bergeron, Cohn, and Duncanson 2017; Elias 2015; True 2015) have underlined the need to position the WPS agenda in the context of broader feminist security analysis as defined by early feminist international relations scholars (e.g., Tickner 1992). More precisely, this requires integrating feminist security studies (FSS) and feminist political economy (FPE). At the center of these largely theoretical reflections is a concern that gender-responsive peace-building efforts have too often been undermined by postwar neoliberal economic processes. This essay provides an empirical contribution to this debate, taking the case study of Ukraine as an atypical example of how WPS has been adopted and implemented for the first time during an active conflict. The integration of FPE and FSS proves especially relevant for a country in conflict, where economic austerity policies come along with increased military expenditure. The essay illustrates that the bridging of security and economy is entirely absent in Ukraine's WPS agenda, which has largely prioritized military security while failing to connect it to the austerity policies and the gendered structural inequalities deepened by the ongoing conflict.

Topics: Conflict, Economies, War Economies, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peacebuilding, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS Regions: Europe, Eastern Europe Countries: Ukraine

Year: 2020

Macroeconomic Interventions and the Politics of Postwar Justice

Citation:

Lai, Daniela. 2020. “Macroeconomic Interventions and the Politics of Postwar Justice.” Politics & Gender 16 (3). doi:10.1017/S1743923X20000331

Author: Daniela Lai

Annotation:

Summary:
This essay connects feminist political economy and critical/feminist transitional justice through the analysis of macroeconomic interventions in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina. Previous contributions to Critical Perspectives have argued for the need to establish a dialogue and bring down divides between feminist security studies and political economy in feminist International Relations (Elias 2015; Chisolm and Stachowitsch 2017) and to look at the spaces where security and political economy intersect as a productive line of research (Sjoberg 2015). To build these connections, feminist scholars have stressed the importance of multidimensional concepts and questioned their unidimensional use whenever relevant. Security is certainly one of the concepts benefiting from a feminist critique that has opened up its meaning, with reference to its referent objects as well as its multiple dimensions (e.g., to include women's economic security alongside physical security; see Chisolm and Stachowitsch 2017; True 2015). Another concept that has been productively reframed as multidimensional by feminist scholars is violence (Bergeron, Cohn, and Duncanson 2017; Elias and Rai 2015; True 2012).

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Justice, Transitional Justice, Political Economies, Post-Conflict, Security, Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2020

Securing the Nation through the Politics of Sexual Violence: Tracing Resonances between Delhi and Cologne

Citation:

Holzberg, Billy, and Priya Raghavan. 2020. “Securing the Nation through the Politics of Sexual Violence: Tracing Resonances between Delhi and Cologne.” International Affairs 96 (5): 1189–208.

Authors: Billy Holzberg, Priya Raghavan

Abstract:

Postcolonial and black feminist scholars have long cautioned against the dangerous proximity between the politics of sexual violence and the advancement of nationalist and imperial projects. In this article, we uncover what it is in particular about efforts to address sexual violence that makes them so amenable to exclusionary nationalist projects, by attending to the political aftermaths of the rape of Jyoti Singh in Delhi in 2012, and the cases of mass sexual abuse that took place during New Year's Eve in Cologne in 2015. Tracing the nationalist discourses and policies precipitated in their wake, we demonstrate how across both contexts, the response to sexual violence was ultimately to augment the securitizing power and remit of the state—albeit through different mechanisms, and while producing different subjects of/for surveillance, control and regulation. We highlight how in both cases it is through contemporary resonances of a persistent (post)colonial echo—which enmeshes the normative female body with the idea of the nation—that sexual abuse becomes an issue of national security and the politics of sexual violence becomes tethered to exclusionary nationalisms. Revealing the more general, shared, rationalities that bind the nation to the normative female body while attending to the located political reverberations that make this entanglement so affectively potent in the distinct contexts of India and Germany helps distinguish and amplify transnational and intersectional feminist approaches to sexual violence that do not so readily accommodate nationalist ambitions.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Intersectionality, Nationalism, Security, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, SV against Women Regions: Asia, South Asia, Europe, Central Europe Countries: Germany, India

Year: 2020

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