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Human Security

Gender, Feminism and Food Studies

Citation:

Lewis, Desiree. 2015. “Gender, Feminism and Food Studies.” African Security Review 24 (4): 414-29.

Author: Desiree Lewis

Abstract:

Policy research and scholarship on food has rapidly increased in recent decades. The attention to ‘gender’ within this work appears to signal important practical and academic efforts to mainstream gendered understandings of food consumption, distribution and production into expansive conceptualisations of human security. This article argues that the gender-related work on food has wide-ranging and often troubling political and theoretical foundations and implications. Often growing out of knowledge regimes for managing social crises and advancing neo-liberal solutions, much gender and food security work provides limited interventions into mainstream gender-blind work on the nexus of power struggles, food resources and globalisation. A careful analysis of knowledge production about gender and food is therefore crucial to understanding how and why feminist food studies often transcends and challenges dominant forms of scholarship and research on food security. This article’s critical assessment of what food security studies in South Africa has entailed at the regional level and in global terms also focuses on the methodological and theoretical feminist interventions that can stimulate rigorous conceptual, research and practical attention to what has come to be understood as food sovereignty.

Keywords: feminist, food security, food studies, food sovereignty, Western Cape, South Africa

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Globalization, Security, Food Security, Human Security Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2015

Food (In)Security, Human (In)Security, Women’s (In)Security: State Policies and Local Experiences in Rural Rwanda

Citation:

Nzayisenga, Marie Jeanne, Camilla Orjuela, and Isabell Schierenbeck. 2016. “Food (In)Security, Human (In)Security, Women’s (In)Security: State Policies and Local Experiences in Rural Rwanda.” African Security 9 (4): 278-98.

Authors: Marie Jeanne Nzayisenga, Camilla Orjuela, Isabell Schierenbeck

Abstract:

Despite the growing importance of the concept [of] human security, security studies in Africa remain largely focused on the threat of direct violence and the role of state actors. This article broadens the security agenda by focusing on food security and discusses how women in rural Rwanda experience and view food security. In making individual women the referent of security, the article exposes the gap between national level reforms, which aim to and have been deemed successful to combat poverty and increase food production, and the experiences of women who report a decline in food availability and increased problems in accessing food in the wake of reforms and who often struggle against hunger in a disadvantaged position within their households and local power structures. Building on 51 interviews with women in western Rwanda conducted in 2013 and 2014, the article illustrates how the human security perspective with a sensitivity to gender relations and positions is important for gaining a fuller picture of the security of individuals. 

Keywords: agricultural reforms, food security, human security, Rwanda, women's security

Topics: Agriculture, Development, Economies, Poverty, Food Security, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Households, Security, Human Security Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Rwanda

Year: 2016

Larger Than Life? Decolonising Human Security Studies through Feminist Posthumanism

Citation:

Hudson, Heidi. 2018. "Larger than Life? Decolonising Human Security Studies through Feminist Posthumanism." Strategic Review for Southern Africa 40 (1): 46-64. 

Author: Heidi Hudson

Abstract:

Binary thinking is one of the features of coloniality, manifesting in a zero-sum game between 'our' and 'their' security. The development of human security as an antidote has, however, been marked by a continuation of such divisions in a much subtler way. This state of affairs is exacerbated by the fact that concepts held up as possible solutions, such as the gendering of human security or the broader tool of decolonisation, are often also trapped in unimaginative oppositional thinking which runs the risk of recolonising knowledge and harming those who are supposed to be secured. The focus in this article is therefore on the coloniality of human security scholarship and practices and how this concept can be reinvigorated through a feminist 'post'-humanist lens. I argue that a feminist posthuman security approach that decentres the human (by going beyond asking for the inclusion of women only) and underscores agentic relations between (all) humans, the natural environment, technology and objects more adequately captures the entangled nature of human security practices, especially in the postcolony. The approach draws on a blend of six conceptual pillars, namely a poststructuralist understanding of agency as the product of intra-action rather than interaction; feminist critiques of equating what is male and what is human; the emphasis on intersections between race and gender in feminist postcolonial theory; the importance of situated knowledge; the agency of matter and objects in the construction of security and/ or insecurity; and an acknowledgement of indigenous Africa-centred knowledge forms. I conclude that this kind of posthuman security frame, which merges feminist posthumanism and new materialist posthumanism, not only allows a more nuanced and inclusive understanding of the human condition but also offers a foundation for developing a decolonised human security research agenda.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Education, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Security, Human Security

Year: 2018

Gendered Environmental Security in IDP and Refugee Camps

Citation:

Rosenow-Williams, Kerstin, and Katharina Behmer. 2015. “Gendered Environmental Security in IDP and Refugee Camps.” Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice 27: 188–95.

Authors: Kerstin Rosenow-Williams, Katharina Behmer

Annotation:

Summary:
"The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and its Executive Committee have long stressed that situations of flight and displacement affect men and women differently and that effective programming must recognize these differences. In the mid-1980s UNHCR, and various other humanitarian actors, began incorporating a gender perspective into their humanitarian activities. Since then a large variety of handbooks, guidelines, and toolkits have been developed. The 2008 UNHCR Handbook for the Protection of Women and Girls, for example, notes that gender mainstreaming has been adopted as a United Nations (UN)–wide policy, recognizing that centralizing the differing needs of women and men into the design of programs, policies, and operations is necessary to fundamentally improve the position of gender equality.
 
"To monitor and advance this policy approach, this essay advocates the use of a gendered human security perspective as an analytical tool to disentangle the gendered dimensions of security for individuals and groups during displacement. It places a special focus on the interrelation between gender categories, their social construction, and the intersectionality of individual characteristics. An intersectional focus on gender-specific dimensions of displacement means taking into account other factors that can cause vulnerability and insecurities (such as age, sexuality, race, religion, class, and ethnicity), thus, also acknowledging the different security situations of individuals within the same gender group. Fusing the concepts of gender mainstreaming and human security proves to be a useful approach to conceptualize and address the multilayered and interrelated security needs of men, women, boys, and girls while providing evidence of the importance of making both sexes the key referents for human security" (Rosenow-Williams and Behmer 2015, 188). 

Topics: Age, Clan, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Refugees, Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, International Organizations, Race, Religion, Security, Human Security, Sexuality

Year: 2015

The Grip of Sexual Violence: Reading UN Security Council Resolutions on Human Security

Citation:

Engle, Karen. 2014. “The Grip of Sexual Violence: Reading UN Security Council Resolutions on Human Security.” In Rethinking Peacekeeping, Gender Equality and Collective Security, edited by Gina Heathcote and Dianne Otto, 23–47. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Karen Engle

Abstract:

The issue I would like to pose in this chapter is about the grip of sexual violence on human security discourse. I do not want to address the violence itself, but to consider why many feminist — and even non-feminist — discussions about human rights and security have become inextricably connected to concerns about sexual violence, primarily but not exclusively against women. I consider here the United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions on what is termed ‘human security’, and debates and media around them. I do so because I believe they are representative of an escalating emphasis on the horrors of sexual violence more generally within international human rights and humanitarian law, discourse and advocacy.

Topics: International Law, International Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law IHL, International Organizations, Security, Human Security, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against women

Year: 2014

Gender, Human Security and the United Nations: Security Language as a Political Framework for Women

Citation:

Hudson, Natalie Florea. 2009. Gender, Human Security and the United Nations: Security Language as a Political Framework for Women. New York: Routledge.

Author: Natalia Florea Hudson

Annotation:

Summary: 
This book examines the relationship between women, gender and the international security agenda, exploring the meaning of security in terms of discourse and practice, as well as the larger goals and strategies of the global women's movement.
 
Today, many complex global problems are being located within the security logic. From the environment to HIV/AIDS, state and non-state actors have made a practice out of securitizing issues that are not conventionally seen as such. As most prominently demonstrated by the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2001), activists for women's rights have increasingly framed women's rights and gender inequality as security issues in an attempt to gain access to the international security agenda, particularly in the context of the United Nations. This book explores the nature and implications of the use of security language as a political framework for women, tracing and analyzing the organizational dynamics of women's activism in the United Nations system and how women have come to embrace and been impacted by the security framework, globally and locally. The book argues that, from a feminist and human security perspective, efforts to engender the security discourse have had both a broadening and limiting effect, highlighting reasons to be sceptical of securitization as an inherently beneficial strategy.
 
Four cases studies are used to develop the core themes: (1) the campaign to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325; (2) the strategies utilized by those advocating women's issues in the security arena compared to those advocating for children; (3) the organizational development of the UN Development Fund for Women and how it has come to securitize women; and (4) the activity of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and its challenges in gendering its security approach.
 
The work will be of interest to students of critical security, gender studies, international organizations and international relations in general. (Summary from Routledge)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peace and Security, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Human Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325

Year: 2009

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

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

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