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Gendered Discourses

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

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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

Margins, Silences, and Bottom Rungs: How to Overcome the Underestimation of Power in the Study of International Relations

Citation:

Enloe, Cynthia. 2004. “Margins, Silences, and Bottom Rungs: How to Overcome the Underestimation of Power in the Study of International Relations.” In The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire, 19–42. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Author: Cynthia Enloe

Annotation:

Summary: 
When I think about what it is that seems so unrealistic (yes, that loaded term) in most formal analyses of international politics, what strikes me is how far their authors are willing to go in underestimating the amounts and varieties of power it takes to form and sustain any given set of relationships between states. This conclusion, of course, rings oddly. So many analysts, after all, profess to be interested chiefly in power – who has it, how they got it, what they try to do with it. Their profession notwithstanding, I believe that by concentrating so single-mindedly on what is referred to euphemistically as the ‘centre’, scores of analysts have produced a naive portrait of how international politics really (there's that tricky concept again) work.
 
No individual or social group finds themselves on the ‘margins’ of any web of relationships – a football league, an industry, an empire, a military alliance, a state – without some other individual or group having accumulated enough power to create the ‘centre’ somewhere else. Beyond its creation, too, there is the yearly and daily business of maintaining the margin where it currently is and the centre where it now is. It is harder for those at the alleged centre to hear the hopes, fears and explanations of those on the margins, not because of physical distance – the margin may be two blocks from the White House, four stops on the Paris metro from the Quai d'Orsay – but because it takes resources and access to be ‘heard’ when and where it matters. (Summary from Cambridge University Press)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy

Year: 2004

Gender, Military Effectiveness, and Organizational Change: The Swedish Model

Citation:

Egnell, Robert, Petter Hojem, and Hannes Berts. 2014. Gender, Military Effectiveness, and Organizational Change: The Swedish Model. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Authors: Robert Egnell, Petter Hojem, Hannes Berts

Annotation:

Summary: 
Through extensive analysis of the Swedish Armed Forces this study explores the possibilities and pitfalls of implementing of a gender perspective in military organizations and operations. It established a number of important lessons for similar attempts in other countries and discusses the continued process of implementation in the Swedish military. (Summary from Palgrave Macmillan)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Conflict, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2014

When Are States Hypermasculine?

Citation:

Maruska, Jennifer Heeg. 2010. “When Are States Hypermasculine?” In Gender and International Security: Feminist Perspectives, edited by Laura Sjoberg, 235-55. Oxon: Routledge.

Author: Jennifer Heeg Maruska

Annotation:

Summary: 
"By using gender as a theoretical tool, I will demonstrate how American hegemonic masculinity—or a significant subsection of it—became hypermasculine in the days, months, and years following September 11, 2001. This development is key to understanding how the war Iraq was sold to and bought by the American people. The consequences of this hypermasculinity include popular support for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq as well as the re-election of President George W. Bush in 2004. In this chapter, I will elaborate the concepts of hegemonic masculinity and hypermasculinity, based on previous theorizing (largely by R. W. Connell and Charlotte Hooper). I will then apply these principles to the post-9/11 era, suggesting that both the Bush administration (the agent) and American mainstream culture itself (the structure) contributed to the invasion of Iraq. By applying a gender-sensitive lens, and putting hypermasculinity into a historical context, both the decision to invade Iraq and the popular support such an idea received will be made much clearer" (Maruska 2010, 236).

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Security Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq, United States of America

Year: 2010

The Gendered Reproduction of the State in International Relations

Citation:

Kantola, Johanna. 2007. “The Gendered Reproduction of the State in International Relations.” The British Journal of Politics and International Relations 9 (2): 270–83.

Author: Johanna Kantola

Abstract:

This article focuses on feminist debates about the state in International Relations (IR). I develop an argument about the gendered reproduction of the state that is based on a Foucauldian notion of power and a Butlerian deconstruction of gender. This approach challenges the unity of the state, power and gender, and the state becomes the gendered effect of discursive and structural processes. I critically discuss recent arguments for the need to move ‘beyond the state’ and to abandon the category of the state altogether, arguing that rather than abandoning the state, their contribution is to draw attention to the need to focus on the intersections of local, national and global levels when analysing states. The article focuses then on the ways in which feminist debates challenge the IR notion of ‘sovereign states’. Feminist scholars problematise three issues in particular: sovereignty, the inside/outside dichotomy and the fiction of the state as a person. I suggest that these debates fundamentally refute the unity of the state upon which some of IR theory continues to rely. Finally, I discuss the state as an effect of discursive and structural processes, which shifts the focus to the gendered reproduction of the state., This article focuses on feminist debates about the state in International Relations (IR). I develop an argument about the gendered reproduction of the state that is based on a Foucauldian notion of power and a Butlerian deconstruction of gender. This approach challenges the unity of the state, power and gender, and the state becomes the gendered effect of discursive and structural processes. I critically discuss recent arguments for the need to move ‘beyond the state’ and to abandon the category of the state altogether, arguing that rather than abandoning the state, their contribution is to draw attention to the need to focus on the intersections of local, national and global levels when analysing states. The article focuses then on the ways in which feminist debates challenge the IR notion of ‘sovereign states’. Feminist scholars problematise three issues in particular: sovereignty, the inside/outside dichotomy and the fiction of the state as a person. I suggest that these debates fundamentally refute the unity of the state upon which some of IR theory continues to rely. Finally, I discuss the state as an effect of discursive and structural processes, which shifts the focus to the gendered reproduction of the state.

Keywords: feminist International Relations (IR), state, sovereignty, performative

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations

Year: 2007

Environmental Security and Gender: Necessary Shifts in an Evolving Debate

Citation:

Detraz, Nicole. 2009. “Environmental Security and Gender: Necessary Shifts in an Evolving Debate.” Security Studies 18 (2): 345–69.

Author: Nicole Detraz

Abstract:

Environmental security is a topic of study that has gained significant attention in the past few decades. Largely since the end of the Cold War, environmental security has come to represent a way for scholars and policy makers to link the concepts of traditional security scholarship to the environment. Many different conceptions of the relationship between the environment and security appear in academia. Yet despite the diversity of current work on the environment and security, there has been little systematic work done that examines the intersection between environmental security and gender. This article will address the necessity of including gender into the approaches on the environment and security. The environmental security debate exhibits gendered understandings of both security and the environment. These gendered assumptions and understandings benefit particular people but are often detrimental to others. Examining environmental security through a gender lens gives insight into the gendered nature of global environmental politics and redefines the concept in ways that are more useful, both empirically and analytically. The various environmental security perspectives have important, unexplored gender dimensions that must be uncovered so that the security of humans and the environment can be better protected.

Topics: Environment, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Security, Human Security

Year: 2009

New Patriotisms: The Beauty Queen and the Bomb

Citation:

Sangari, Kumkum. 2004. “New Patriotisms: The Beauty Queen and the Bomb.” In From Gender to Nation, edited by Rada Ivekovic and Julie Mostov, 153–70. New Delhi: Zubaan.

Author: Kumkum Sangari

Annotation:

Summary:
"The significant literature on gender and nationalism generated in the past decade shows that the emphasis on women as biological reproducers or members of a bounded collectivity, and the centrality of womanhood to the ideological reproduction of the nation are common to a variety of nationalisms. Yet the ideological distinctions between nationalisms remain significant. Given the intertwined legacies of colonialism, the patriarchal assumptions in nationalism, and the particularism of the Hindu right-wing, definitions of Indian culture have always been problematic, especially in the way they cast the "nation" as an entity affected and endangered by the "west". The secular, multireligious or more inclusive nationalisms that emerged in the colonial period were implicated in the specific types of antifeminism and new conservatism that crystallized around anticolonialism; however, they cannot be confused with the obsessive particularisms that attempted to seize nationalism and twist it to their own ends. These particularisms sought the aura of nationalism but pushed for a single majoritarian religious identity, and a tighter patriarchy by polarizing an alien, "selfgenerated" and modem "west". Neither anticolonialism, nor antiwesternism, nor antimodernity could guarantee national authenticity since they were shaped in a two-way cultural traffic marked by recursivity, transformation, resistance and ideological collaboration. They, did however, produce a powerful imaginary India exemplified in its nonmodern or antimodern areas (notably a subsuming religiosity and chaste, self-sacrificing women) to be preserved, an India that was most emphatically (though not exclusively) deployed by the Hindu right" (Sangari 2004, 153).

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Nationalism, Religion, Security, Weapons /Arms Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2004

The Protected, the Protector, the Defender

Citation:

Stiehm, Judith Hicks. 1982. “The Protected, the Protector, the Defender.” Women’s Studies International Forum 5 (3-4): 367–76.

Author: Judith Hicks Stiehm

Abstract:

The state claims the offering of protection through the use of legitimate force as its defining function. But for the most part only men are allowed to use that force; only men are allowed to be protectors. But women who are supposed to be protected know that they frequently are not. They also know that protectors are often a source of danger to the protected. This essay investigates the nature of the protected, the protector, and the defender who participates fully in the creation of security but who neither is dependent nor has dependents. It proposes that men and women share equally in defense.

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Security, Human Security

Year: 1982

Gender and the Nuclear Weapons State: A Feminist Critique of the UK Government’s White Paper on Trident

Citation:

Duncanson, Claire, and Catherine Eschle. 2008. “Gender and the Nuclear Weapons State: A Feminist Critique of the UK Government’s White Paper on Trident.” New Political Science 30 (4): 545–63.

Authors: Claire Duncanson, Catherine Eschle

Abstract:

This article enquires into the connections between gender and discourses of the nuclear weapons state. Specifically, we develop an analysis of the ways in which gender operates in the White Paper published by the UK government in 2006 on its plans to renew Trident nuclear weapons (given the go-ahead by the Westminster Parliament in March 2007). We argue that the White Paper mobilizes masculine-coded language and symbols in several ways: firstly, in its mobilization of techno-strategic rationality and axioms; secondly, in its assumptions about security; and, thirdly, in its assumptions about the state as actor. Taken together, these function to construct a masculinized identity for the British nuclear state as a “responsible steward.” However, this identity is one that is not yet securely fixed and that, indeed, contains serious internal tensions that opponents of Trident (and of the nuclear state more generally) should be able to exploit.

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Governance, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2008

Syrian Refugees in Germany: Gendered Narratives of Border Crossings

Isis Nusair

September 27, 2018

Campus Center, Room 3550B, UMass Boston

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This event is being cosponsored by the UMass Boston CLA Dean's Office; Department of Anthropology; Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance; Department of History; Department of Political Science; Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Honors College; the Sociology Club; the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies; and the William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences.

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