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Gendered Discourses

Sexed Bodies and Military Masculinities: Gender Path Dependence in EU's Common Security and Defense Policy


Kronsell, Annica. 2016. “Sexed Bodies and Military Masculinities: Gender Path Dependence in EU's Common Security and Defense Policy.” Men and Masculinities 19 (3): 311–36.

Author: Annica Kronsell


This article explores the European Union (EU)’s Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) through a framework based on feminist institutional theory that highlights the durability in the dynamics of gender relations. Path dependency based on historic features of military institutions—a strict sex division based on ‘‘gender war roles’’— has influenced the development of different CSDP bodies. The CSDP is sexed because male bodies dominate the organizations studied, yet this remains invisible through normalization. A dominant EU hierarchical military masculinity is institutionalized in the EU’s Military Committee, combat heterosexual masculinity in the Battle groups, and EU protector masculinity in the EU Training missions. The CSDP embodies different types of military masculinities; the relations between them are important for the reproduction of the gender order through a gendered logic of appropriateness. Yet, this too is invisible as part of the informal aspects of organizations. While women’s bodies are written out of the CSDP, the construction of femininity in relation to the protector/protected binary is central to it. Two protected femininities are read in the texts. The vulnerable femininity of women in conflict areas is important for how the CSDP understands itself in relation to gender mainstreaming. In relation to the vulnerable femininity, CSDP constructs an EU protector masculinity, in turn, set against an aggressive violent masculinity in the areas where missions are deployed. Women’s bodies are absent from the CSDP and they lack agency but are nevertheless associated with a protected femininity. 

Keywords: conflict, Europe, feminism, gender equality, hegemonic masculinity

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Security, Security Sector Reform Regions: Europe

Year: 2016

Gender Mainstreaming and the Institutionalization of the Women’s Movement in South Korea


Kim, Seung-kyung, and Kyounghee Kim. 2011. “Gender Mainstreaming and the Institutionalization of the Women’s Movement in South Korea.” Women’s Studies International Forum 34 (5): 390–400. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2011.05.004.

Authors: Seung-kyung Kim, Kyounghee Kim


This article examines the relationship between the women's movement and the government over the two women-friendly administrations in South Korea (1997–2007), a period marked by flourishing civil society activism and participatory democracy. As the Korean government transformed from a military dictatorship to a participatory democracy, the women's movement became increasingly involved in policy making and formulating legal changes. By the end of 2007, the Korean government had established or rewritten numerous far-reaching laws in order to rectify gender inequality. However, many feminist activists and scholars are asking whether the very success of Korean gender policy resulted in the institutionalization and demobilization of the women's movement. This study will focus on the dynamics of cooperation, tension, and conflict between feminist organizations and formal politics in order to analyze the trajectory of institutionalization during the ten-year period of women-friendly administrations.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Discourses, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: South Korea

Year: 2011

Authenticating Gender Policies through Sustained-Pressure: The Strategy Behind the Success of Turkish Feminists


Marshall, Gul Aldikacti. 2009. “Authenticating Gender Policies through Sustained-Pressure: The Strategy Behind the Success of Turkish Feminists.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 16 (3): 358–78.

Author: Gul Aldikacti Marshall


The model of “boomerang effect” only partially explains the dynamics of the international and national activism of Turkish feminists. When their demands were not met by the state, feminists reached out to the United Nations and the European Union. However, rather than bypassing the Turkish state as it would be expected by the boomerang model, they kept pressuring the state. This political strategy, which I call sustained-pressure, helped feminists claim responsibility and success during and after the gender policy changes of the 2000s in Turkey. Establishing the indigenousness of the need for change eased ultra-nationalist opposition to external pressure.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Political Participation Regions: MENA, Asia, Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Turkey

Year: 2009

Spectacular Rhetorics: Human Rights Visions, Recognitions, Feminisms


Hesford, Wendy. 2011. Spectacular Rhetorics: Human Rights Visions, Recognitions, Feminisms. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Author: Wendy Hesford


Spectacular Rhetorics is a rigorous analysis of the rhetorical frameworks and narratives that underlie human rights law, shape the process of cultural and legal recognition, and delimit public responses to violence and injustice. Integrating visual and textual criticism, Wendy S. Hesford scrutinizes “spectacular rhetoric,” the use of visual images and rhetoric to construct certain bodies, populations, and nations as victims and incorporate them into human rights discourses geared toward Westerners, chiefly Americans. Hesford presents a series of case studies critiquing the visual representations of human suffering in documentary films, photography, and theater. In each study, she analyzes works addressing a prominent contemporary human rights cause, such as torture and unlawful detention, ethnic genocide and rape as a means of warfare, migration and the trafficking of women and children, the global sex trade, and child labor. Through these studies, she demonstrates how spectacular rhetoric activates certain cultural and national narratives and social and political relations, consolidates identities through the politics of recognition, and configures material relations of power and difference to produce and, ultimately, to govern human rights subjects.

(Duke University Press)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Genocide, International Law, International Human Rights, Rights, Human Rights, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking

Year: 2011

Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey


Randall, Amy E. 2015. Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Author: Amy E. Randall


Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century brings together a collection of some of the finest genocide studies scholars in North America and Europe to examine gendered discourses, practices and experiences of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the 20th century. It includes essays focusing on the genocide in Rwanda, the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing and genocide in the former Yugoslavia.
The book looks at how historically- and culturally-specific ideas about reproduction, biology, and ethnic, national, racial and religious identity contributed to the possibility for and the unfolding of genocidal sexual violence, including mass rape. The book also considers how these ideas, in conjunction with discourses of femininity and masculinity, and understandings of female and male identities, contributed to perpetrators' tools and strategies for ethnic cleansing and genocide, as well as victims' experiences of these processes. This is an ideal text for any student looking to further understand the crucial topic of gender in genocide studies.
(Bloomsbury Academic)

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Genocide, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Men Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Europe, Balkans, South Caucasus Countries: Armenia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2015

Notes from the Field: Silence Kills! Women and the Transitional Justice Process in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia


Gray, Doris H., and Terry Coonan. 2013. “Notes from the Field: Silence Kills! Women and the Transitional Justice Process in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia.” International Journal of Transitional Justice 7 (2): 348–57. doi:10.1093/ijtj/ijt002.

Authors: Doris H. Gray, Terry Coonan


This article is based on the first collection of testimonies of female former political prisoners in Tunisia. Relying on purposive rather than random sampling, the interviews were aimed at contributing to an authentic Tunisian process of transitional justice that takes cultural, religious and gender-based norms into consideration. To date, the voices of conservative Islamist women detained under the Tunisian dictatorship have been significantly absent from the national discourse on transitional justice. Select voices of women are presented here that can begin to address this gap. The newly elected provisional government, in which the Islamist Ennahda Party enjoys a majority, has established a Ministry of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, the first of its kind in the world. While this augurs well for Tunisia’s future, there is fear that the transitional justice process may nonetheless be captured by political agendas.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Justice, Transitional Justice Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa Countries: Tunisia

Year: 2013

Between Memory and Desire: Gender and the Remembrance of War in Doi Moi Vietnam


Werner, Jayne S. 2006. “Between Memory and Desire: Gender and the Remembrance of War in Doi Moi Vietnam.” Gender, Place & Culture 13 (3): 303–15.

Author: Jayne S. Werner


This article explores how memory and desire narrate the remembrance of war in doi moi Vietnam through gendered representations. Based on a reading of texts, including fiction and a film shown on television, I argue that memory in wartime texts evokes a landscape of gendered desire and longing. Using Judith Butler's theory of gender melancholy, the article looks at how these texts serve a political project cultivated by the state to displace its own ideal authority.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Nationalism Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2006

The End of Queer (as We Knew It): Globalization and the Making of a Gay-Friendly South Africa


Oswin, Natalie. 2007. “The End of Queer (as We Knew It): Globalization and the Making of a Gay-Friendly South Africa.” Gender, Place & Culture 14 (1): 93–110. doi:10.1080/09663690601122358.

Author: Natalie Oswin


In J. K. Gibson-Graham's The End of Capitalism (as we knew it), the authors (Julie Graham and Katherine Gibson) provocatively deploy queer theory to further their project of telling non-capitalist stories of globalization. In short, they reject the narrative that globalization is always and only penetrative in the hope that global capital will ‘lose its erection’ and ‘other openings’ in the body of capitalism can be considered. I adopt their strategy of looking at stories of globalization. But, while they are concerned with the homophobia of economic theorizing, I consider the gay-friendly discourse of post-apartheid South Africa. Recent expressions of official tolerance by various nation-states around the globe have been dismissed as the mere appropriation of difference by hegemonic forces. Against such interpretations, I look at the ways in which the inclusion of ‘sexual orientation’ in post-apartheid South Africa's constitutional Equality Clause can instead be read as a queer globalization. Based on this reading, I problematize the presumption that queer globalizations take place beyond the realm of the hegemonic and point to the need for queer theorists to think through the political ramifications of homosexuality's repositioning as saviour rather than scapegoat of certain nation-states.

Keywords: globalization, queer theory, South Africa, post-apartheid, homosexuality

Topics: Civil Society, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Globalization, Governance, Constitutions, LGBTQ, Post-Conflict, Sexuality Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2007

The Beautiful "Other": A Critical Examination of ‘Western’ Representations of Afghan Feminine Corporeal Modernity.


Fluri, Jennifer L. 2009. “The Beautiful ‘Other’: A Critical Examination of ‘Western’ Representations of Afghan Feminine Corporeal Modernity.” Gender, Place & Culture 16 (3): 241–57. doi:10.1080/09663690902836292.

Author: Jennifer L. Fluri


This paper examines corporeal modernity as part of the larger ‘savior and liberation’ trope produced for Afghan women by US-led military, political and economic intervention post-9/11. This savior trope has been identified as a co-optation of women's rights discourses and activism (Hunt 2002), a misguided approach to security through gendered scripts of masculine aggressive protection and female submission (Young 2003; Dowler 2002), and as yet another example in a long history of gendered tropes devised by colonial and imperial powers to save Muslim women (Abu Lughod 2002). This study adds to existing feminist critiques of US intervention in Afghanistan by examining the Beauty Academy of Kabul and the participation of Miss Afghanistan in the 2003 Miss Earth Pageant as particular lenses through which the economic and corporeal ‘liberation’ of Afghan women was presented in the US. This economic approach occurs at the site and scale of the body in order to (re)define corporeal modernity through corporate driven, heteronormative, and hegemonic beauty standards.

Keywords: corporeal modernity, Afghanistan, gender, body politics, economic development

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Religion, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2009

Women Fighters and the ‘Beautiful Soul’ Narrative


Sjoberg, Laura. 2010. “Women Fighters and the ‘Beautiful Soul’ Narrative.” International Review of the Red Cross 92 (877): 53–68.

Author: Laura Sjoberg


This article explores women's presence in military forces around the world, looking both at women's service as soldiers and at the gendered dimensions of their soldiering particularly, and soldiering generally. It uses the 'beautiful soul' narrative to describe women's relationship with war throughout its history, and explores how this image of women's innocence of and abstention from war has often contrasted with women's actual experiences as soldiers and fighters.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Gendered Discourses

Year: 2010


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