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Northern Europe

‘And They Think I’m Just a Nice Old Lady’: Women and War in Belfast, Northern Ireland


Dowler, Lorraine. 1998. “‘And They Think I’m Just a Nice Old Lady’: Women and War in Belfast, Northern Ireland.” Gender, Place and Culture 5 (2): 159-76.

Author: Lorraine Dowler


This article examines the spatial construction of gender roles in a time of war. During a period of armed conflict both women and men are perceived as beings who exemplify gender-specific virtues. The relationship of gender and identity in this case is a paradoxical one: war-usually a catalyst of change-can often become an agent of conservatism as regards gender identities. This conservatism can be seen in the wartime spatial relegation of women to the private/domestic realm. When a society is in armed conflict there is a predisposition to perceive men as violent and action-oriented and women as compassionate and supportive to the male warrior. These gender tropes do not denote the actions of women and men in a time of war, but function instead to re-create and secure women's position as non-combatants and that of men as warriors. Thus, women have historically been marginalized in the consciousness of those who have researched the events of war. This article is largely based on interviews I conducted in the fall of 1993, in an Irish Catholic community in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I will offer both female and male interpretations of what women did and how they were affected by the upheavals of the Irish Nationalist struggle in Northern Ireland.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender Roles Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1998

Commemorating Dead ‘Men’: Gendering the Past and Present in Post-conflict Northern Ireland


McDowell, Sara. 2008. “Commemorating Dead ‘Men’: Gendering the Past and Present in Post-conflict Northern Ireland.” Gender, Place and Culture 15 (4): 335-54.

Author: Sara McDowell


War is instrumental in shaping and negotiating gender identities. But what role does peace play in dispelling or affirming the gender order in post-conflict contexts? Building on a burgeoning international literature on representative landscapes and based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Northern Ireland between 2003 and 2006, this article explores the peacetime commemoration of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ in order to explore the nuances of gender. Tellingly, the memorial landscapes cultivated since the inception of the paramilitary ceasefires in 1994 privilege male interpretations of the past (and, therefore, present). Gender parity, despite being enshrined within the 1998 Belfast Agreement which sought to draw a line under almost three decades of ethno-nationalist violence, remains an elusive utopia, as memorials continue to propagate specific roles for men and women in the ‘national project’. As the masculine ideologies of Irish Nationalism/Republicanism and British Unionism/Loyalism inscribe their respective disputant pasts into the streetscape, the narratives of women have been blurred and disrupted, begging the question: what role can they play in the future?

Keywords: Northern Ireland, gender, conflict, commemoration, nationalism

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Roles, Gender Equality/Inequality, Nationalism, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2008

'It’s Not Just Tea and Buns’: Women and Pro‐Union Politics in Northern Ireland


Ward, Rachel J. 2004. “‘It’s Not Just Tea and Buns’: Women and Pro‐union Politics in Northern Ireland.” The British Journal of Politics & International Relations 6 (4): 494-506.

Author: Rachel J. Ward


This article assesses the reasons for the ongoing under-representation of women in Northern Ireland politics, with particular reference to women who take a pro-union stance. The stereotype that unionist women ‘just make the tea’ is challenged through evidence that they participate in many different tiers of government and in community organisations. The article draws upon qualitative evidence of pro-union women’s political activism and their motivations, analysed through perspectives from the literature on gender, nationalism and participation. The article argues that while women remain under-represented, particularly in the more powerful and salaried regional and national levels of government, they also do more than the stereotype allows.

Topics: Gender, Women, Nationalism, Political Participation Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2004

Gender Integration in Armed Forces: Recent Policy Developments in the United Kingdom


Dandeker, Christopher, and Mady W. Segal. 1996. "Gender Integration in Armed Forces: Recent Policy Developments in the United Kingdom." Armed Forces & Society 23 (1): 29-47.

Authors: Christopher Dandeker, Mady W. Segal


This article reports on recent developments in policy on gender integration in the United Kingdom's armed forces, whereby women's employment opportunities have widened significantly since the early 1980s. These changes include increases in women's representation and the number of positions they are allowed to occupy; abolition of the Women's Royal Army Corps (WRAC) and Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS); assigning women to combat ships, and training women as jet fighter pilots. Drawing on official reports and statistics and formal interviews with military and civilian defense officials, we analyze the main factors that have led the United Kingdom to make these policy changes. These factors are: demographic pressures, sociocultural changes in gender definitions, legal constraints (particularly from the European Union), and changing views of policy makers on whether women can and should serve in combat roles. The article highlights a number of implications of the policy changes.

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Livelihoods, Militarized livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1996

A Gendered Uprising: Political Representation and Minority Ethnic Communities


Burlet, Stacey, and Helen Reid. 1998. “A Gendered Uprising: Political Representation and Minority Ethnic Communities.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 21 (2): 270-87.

Authors: Stacey Burlet, Helen Reid


This article explores the interface between gender and ethnicity in a microlevel study of a conflict which involved members of a minority ethnic community. Focusing on gender reactions to the unfolding conflict, it explores arguments raised by women in its aftermath. These arguments concern who has the right to define and represent them in public spaces in the future. The specific conflict examined took place in Bradford, UK, in 1995, and involved male Pakistani Muslim youths and the police. In the aftermath, public debate on the issue has centered on community representation in general and the role of male youth in particular. It is argued that the conflict also accelerated a process whereby Pakistani Muslim women are (re)defining intra- and inter-community relationships in the public sphere. This article affirms that the gender analysis being employed by these women to understand the events of 1995 has wider implications for the future management of plural societies, and poses a challenge to the dominance of men in creating, maintaining and managing public spaces.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Analysis Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1998

Closing the Gender Gap: Postwar Education and Social Change


Arnot, Madeleine, Miriam E. David, and Gaby Weiner. 1999. Closing the Gender Gap: Postwar Education and Social Change. London: Polity Press.

Authors: Madeleine Arnot, Miriam E. David, Gaby Weiner


The education gender gap is closing. Since the 1980s, examination results have changed dramatically, as girls have 'caught up' with and, in some cases, overtaken boys. Through an analysis of the postwar transformation in British economic, social and cultural life, this important book provides valuable insights into how and why this unprecedented change has taken place. In particular, the book focuses on the welfare state and the education reforms under Margaret Thatcher which encouraged this momentum for change despite her personal efforts to re-instil Victorian education values. These reforms, the authors argue, coupled with the women's movement, re-shaped girls' and boys' identities and educational choices irrevocably, but not necessarily in the same or complementary ways. Closing the Gender Gap will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students in education, sociology and gender studies.

Topics: Education, Gender Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1999

Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror'


Haritaworn, Jin, Tamsila Tauqir, and Esra Erdem. 2008. “Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror.’” In Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/raciality, edited by Adi Kuntsman and Esperanza Miyake, 71–95. York: Raw Nerve Books.

Authors: Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir, Esra Erdem


Our article focuses on the situation in Britain, where ‘Muslim’ and ‘homo-phobic’ are increasingly treated as interchangeable signifiers. The central figure in this process is Peter Tatchell who has successfully claimed the role of the liberator of and expert about Muslim gays and lesbians. This highlights the problems of a single-issue politics of representation, which equates ‘gay’ with white and ‘ethnic minority’ with heterosexual. At the same time, the fact that Tatchell’s group Outrage passes as the emblem of queer and hence post-identity politics in Britain shows that the problem of Islamophobia is not reducible to the critique of identity. The active participation of right- as well as left-wing, feminist as well as gay, official as well as civil powers in the Islamophobia industry proves racism more clearly than ever to be a white problem, which crosses other social and political differences.

Topics: Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, LGBTQ, Religion, Sexuality, Terrorism Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2008

Contentious Pluralism: The Public Sphere and Democracy


Guidry, John A., and Mark Q. Sawyer. 2003. “Contentious Pluralism: The Public Sphere and Democracy.” Perspectives on Politics 1 (2): 273–89.

Authors: John A. Guidry, Mark Q. Sawyer


What do peasants in eighteenth-century England, African Americans in Reconstruction-era Virginia, mothers in Nicaragua and Argentina, and contemporary transnational activists have to do with one another? They all illustrate instances where marginalized groups challenge a lack of democracy or the limitations of existing democracy. Democracy is both a process and a product of struggles against power. Both the social capital literature and literature that focuses on democracy as a product of institutions can undervalue the actions of regular people who imagine a democratic world beyond anything that actually exists. The four cases examined in this article demonstrate that marginalized groups use a variety of performative and subversive methods to uproot the public sphere from its exclusionary history as they imagine, on their own terms, democratic possibilities that did not previously exist. In so doing, they plant the seeds of a more egalitarian public politics in new times and places. This process is "contentious pluralism," and we ask political scientists in all subfields to look to popular movements and changing political structures as they explore the promise of democracy and to rethink the gap between democracy as an ideal and the ways in which people actually experience it.

Topics: Governance, Political Participation Regions: Americas, Central America, North America, South America, Europe, Northern Europe Countries: Argentina, Nicaragua, United Kingdom, United States of America

Year: 2003

Gender Ideology and Nationalism in the Culture and Politics of Iceland


Koester, David. 1995. “Gender Ideology and Nationalism in the Culture and Politics of Iceland.” American Ethnologist 22 (3): 572-88.

Author: David Koester

Topics: Gender, Women, Nationalism, Political Participation Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Iceland

Year: 1995

Looking at Gender Mainstreaming in the UK Government


Veitch, Janet. 2005. “Looking at Gender Mainstreaming in the UK Government.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 7 (4): 600–6.

Author: Janet Veitch

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Governance Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2005


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