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Military Forces & Armed Groups

What is Feminist Foreign Policy? An Explanatory Evaluation of Foreign Policy in OECD Countries


Alwan, Christine, and S. Laurel Weldon. 2017. “What is Feminist Foreign Policy? An Explanatory Evaluation of Foreign Policy in OECD Countries.” Paper prepared for 2017 European Conference on Politics and Gender, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Authors: Christine Alwan, S. Laurel Weldon


In 2015, Sweden’s foreign affairs minister boldly acclaimed that the state had a feminist foreign policy, with rights, representation, and resources at its core (Patel 2015). While these criteria may be a helpful for understanding the variety of issues foreign policy makers must consider to develop and implement gender equitable policy, they do not provide a specific framework for a feminist foreign policy theory. We hope to address this lack of specificity by drawing on existing theories of foreign policy and feminist IR.  We argue why the idea of a feminist foreign policy is radical given the nature of international politics, state militaries, and government actors. We point to the symbiotic relationship between militarism and masculinity with militarism and the state. This androcentric view of international politics does not adequately address the ways in which women’s lives affect and are affected by foreign policy decisions. We hope that these initial discussions will help both policy scholars and practitioners develop and incorporate a feminist theory of foreign policy into foreign policy decision-making.

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Rights

Year: 2017

Corporalidades y subjetividades sexuales: el caso de las mujeres excombatientes de las guerrillas colombianas


Mejía Jerez, Yuly Andrea, y Priscyll Anctil Avoine. 2017. “Corporalidades y subjetividades sexuales: el caso de las mujeres excombatientes de las guerrillas colombianas.” Prospectiva: Revista de Trabajo Social e Intervención Social, no. 23, 97-122.

Authors: Yuly Andrea Mejía Jerez, Priscyll Anctil Avoine


El ingreso temprano de mujeres a grupos armados al margen de la ley implica la vivencia de experiencias que transmutan roles de género tradicionales, el cuidado del cuerpo, la construcción de la sexualidad y de las subjetividades. Dentro de la estructura bélica, y posteriormente, en el proceso de reintegración, las mujeres se enfrentan a múltiples decisiones en las distintas etapas de su sexualidad. Con el fin del conflicto armado con las FARC-EP, ellas se encuentran en un nuevo momento de sus vidas, pasando del contexto caracterizado por el miedo, la violencia y las ausencias estatales, a asumir otras posiciones sociales como futuras agentes de cambio. El objetivo de este artículo es reflexionar sobre las dimensiones corporales de las mujeres en las guerrillas colombianas, para contrastar el impacto de la violencia y el conflicto en la constitución de las subjetividades desde una dimensión sexual y de género. Para ello, se utiliza la metodología cualitativa de análisis documental y, además, se tienen en cuenta observaciones a partir de investigaciones anteriores realizadas con la Corporación Descontamina.

Keywords: sexualidad, mujer, Conflicto Armado, cuerpo, cuidado corporal, guerrillas colombianas

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peace Processes Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2017

Militarized Gender Performativity: Women and Demobilization in Colombia’s FARC and AUC


Méndez, Andrea. 2012. “Militarized Gender Performativity: Women and Demobilization in Colombia’s FARC and AUC.” PhD diss., Queen’s University.

Author: Andrea Méndez


Women are usually represented as victims in the literature on conflict and conflict resolution. While women are indeed victims of violence in the context of conflict, this representation excludes the experiences of women who have joined and fought in illegal armed groups. Little is known about the lives of women who fight alongside men in illegal militarized organizations. These women are often overlooked during peace negotiations and in the design and implementation of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration programs, affecting their conditions and experiences during the transition to civilian life. The Colombian conflict presents an important case study regarding the militarization of women in illegal armed groups, and the experience of demobilization, and is the focus of this dissertation. To address this case study, the concept of “militarized gender performativity” is advanced, drawing on the works of Cynthia Enloe and Judith Butler. In the Colombian case, both left–wing and right–wing armed groups have incorporated women into their ranks. This research elucidates the effects of non– state militarism on the social processes that produce and reproduce gender systems in two of Colombia’s illegal armed groups, uncovering how the FARC and the AUC construct, negotiate, challenge, or reinforce gender roles. The research indicates that there are significant differences in the way this is done. Interviews with ex–combatants from the FARC and the AUC show that women’s sexuality plays a central role in the militarization of women combatants in both organizations, but there are specific policies that establish the nature of the relationships in each group. These differences represent distinct militarized femininities which maintain aspects of traditional gender relations while transforming others according to the needs of the organization in question. The transformation of gender identities in each of the armed groups reveals the performative nature of gender roles in a militarized context.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Gender, Gender Roles, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peace Processes, Sexuality Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2012

Reintegrating FARC’s Female Combatants: The Challenges of Addressing Gender Binaries in Transitional Justice


Ebrahimi-Tsamis, Aleisha. 2018. “Reintegrating FARC’s Female Combatants: The Challenges of Addressing Gender Binaries in Transitional Justice.” Birkbeck Law Review 6 (1): 79–109.

Author: Aleisha Ebrahimi-Tsamis


Against the backdrop of the 2016 Colombian plebiscite and the subsequent peace treaty, the female Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia/Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) face insurmountable obstacles in returning to civilian life. Long-standing gender disparity, largely amplified by socio-economic inequality, manifested with an estimated 40% female guerrilla membership. This article argues that the financial incentives, physical protection and sense of equality offered by FARC posed a strong lure to females who were otherwise at a natural disadvantage within Colombian society, resulting in a large number of female combatants facing gender-specific challenges now that FARC has formally ended their existence as an armed group. Whilst considering female victims of human rights (HR) violations, deeper consideration is given to the symbiotic and conflicting duality of a female who may fulfill the roles of both victim and abuser, and the inability of present transitional justice (TJ) mechanisms to approach and adequately address such a dyad. (Birkbeck Law Review)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Justice, Transitional Justice, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2018

Masculinities in Transition? Exclusion, Ethnosocial Power, and Contradictions in Excombatant Community-Based Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland


Holland, Curtis, and Gordana Rabrenovic. 2018. "Masculinities in Transition? Exclusion, Ethnosocial Power, and Contradictions in Excombatant Community-Based Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland." Men and Masculinities 21 (5): 729-55.

Authors: Curtis Holland, Gordana Rabrenovic


This study critically examines how masculinities and intersecting ethnonational and social class identities underscore the social and political agencies of excombatants in Northern Ireland and in the specific context of community-based peacebuilding. The authors draw on interviews with female and male leaders in grassroots and governmental organizations, which illustrate how state-led practices of exclusion reshape such intersectional identities and increase the instrumentality of hypermasculinist, pseudo-paramilitary practices in maintaining excombatants’ status and control on neighborhood levels. The research documents how structural dynamics of excombatants’ social class locations and political disaffection help shape their social agencies of “resistance,” underscored by desires for autonomy and recognition, and channeled by ethnogendered scripts rooted in both violent cultures of paramilitarism and nonviolent peacebuilding masculinities. The implications on women of male excombatants’ takeover of leadership roles in the community sector are also discussed.

Keywords: masculinities, peacebuilding, paramilitaries, class, Northern Ireland, exclusion, transitional justice

Topics: Armed Conflict, Class, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Justice, Transitional Justice, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Paramilitaries, Peacebuilding Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2018

Roof Knocking

"In war-stricken Palestine, a woman prepares a meal to break the fast in the month of Ramadan. A phone call by an Israeli soldier alerts her of the bombing of her building in ten minutes. Coming to accept her family’s fate is the only way she can make a stand for her life, with grim consequences."


Sexual Violence in Iraq: Challenges for Transnational Feminist Politics


Al-Ali, Nadje. 2018. "Sexual Violence in Iraq: Challenges for Transnational Feminist Politics." European Journal of Women's Studies 25 (1): 10-27.

Author: Nadje Al-Ali


The article discusses sexual violence by ISIS against women in Iraq, particularly Yezidi women, against the historical background of broader sexual and gender-based violence. It intervenes in feminist debates about how to approach and analyse sexual and wider gender-based violence in Iraq specifically and the Middle East more generally. Recognizing the significance of positionality, the article argues against dichotomous positions and for the need to look at both macrostructural configurations of power pertaining to imperialism, neoliberalism and globalization on the one hand, and localized expressions of patriarchy, religious interpretations and practices and cultural norms on the other hand. Finally, the article reflects on the question of what a transnational feminist solidarity might look like in relation to sexual violence by ISIS.

Keywords: gender-based violence, ISIS, Kurdish Region of Iraq, positionality, Yezidi Women

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Globalization, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, Religion, Sexual Violence Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq

Year: 2018

Imperial Democracies, Militarised Zones, Feminist Engagements


Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2011. “Imperial Democracies, Militarised Zones, Feminist Engagements.” Economic and Political Weekly 46 (13): 76–84.

Author: Chandra Talpade Mohanty


The post-11 September 2001 consolidation of imperial democracies and securitised regimes in the United States, Israel, and India mobilise anatomies of violence anchored in colonial legacies and capitalist profitmaking. These regimes utilise specific and connected racial and gendered ideologies and practices at their social and territorial borders - in the US-Mexico borderlands, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Kashmir Valley. They exercise militarised and masculinised forms of control, surveillance and dispossession that illuminate the contours of national political subjectivities and the uneven construction of citizenship. These imperial democracies militarise all domains of social life, and discipline or imprison not just abandoned and criminalised communities, but all state subjects. The essay suggests that an alternative vision of connectivity and solidarity requires building ethical, cross-border feminist solidarities that confront neoliberal militarisation globally. (Summary from original source) 

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Nationalism, Violence Regions: MENA, Americas, North America, Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: India, Israel, United States of America

Year: 2011

'The Militarization of All Hindudom’? The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bomb, and the Political Spaces of Hindu Nationalism


Corbridge, Stuart. 1999. “‘The Militarization of All Hindudom’? The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Bomb, and the Political Spaces of Hindu Nationalism.” Economy and Society 28 (2): 222–55.

Author: Stuart Corbridge


This paper examines the means by which the Bharatiya janata Party (BJP) and its allies have sought to reinvent the political spaces of India (Hindudom). It describes the gendered rituals of pilgrimage and spatial representation that allow Hindu nationalists to position Bharat Mata(Mother India) as a geographical entity under threat from Islam and in need of the protective armies of Lord Rama. It also explores the geopolitical claims of the BJP and its attempts to position Greater India as a Great Power. The explosion of three nuclear devices in the Rajasthan desert on 11 May 1998 can be linked to this geopolitical imaginary. The paper argues, however, that the nuclear tests were triggered by the weakness of the BJP in India's centrist Political landscapes. The ‘militarization of all Hindudomis’ is sternly contested.

Keywords: Hindu nationalism, Bharatiya Janata Party, political space, Yatras, militarization, secularism

Topics: Gender, Gendered Discourses, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Nationalism, Religion, Violence, Weapons /Arms Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 1999

Militarism and Women in South Asia


Chenoy, Anuradha M. 2002. Militarism and Women in South Asia. New Delhi: Kali for Women.

Author: Anuradha M. Chenoy


This book traces the course of militarism in several South Asian states, with a more detailed account of women's experiences of it in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. This closely argued, detailed analysis of the growing militarism in South Asia presents not just the phenomenon, but all its ramifications, examining its manifestations across the region from a feminist perspective for the first time. (Summary from Google Books)
Table of Contents:
1. Understanding Militarism
2. National Security Doctrines and Feminist Critiques
3. Bangladesh: Poverty and Militarism
4. Militarism in Pakistan
5. Sri Lanka: Militarization of State and Society
6. Militarizing India

Topics: Economies, Poverty, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Year: 2002


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