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Military Forces & Armed Groups

Gender Dimensions of DDR – beyond Victimization and Dehumanization: Tracking the Thematic

Citation:

Hauge, Wenche Iren. 2020. “Gender Dimensions of DDR – beyond Victimization and Dehumanization: Tracking the Thematic." International Feminist Journal of Politics 22 (2): 206-26.

Author: Wenche Iren Hauge

Abstract:

In much of the early literature on gender dimensions of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) processes – from the 1980s and 1990s – the focus was on women as victims in conflict and DDR processes. This article reviews the literature on gender dimensions of DDR processes, exploring its many different topics – such as discussions of the definition of combatants, the political economy of DDR processes, group identity, cultural contexts, and masculinity – while focusing the discussion on the representation of female and male combatants of armed groups along the victim–actor axis. It furthermore analyzes the consequences of these representations for the way in which DDR processes are structured, and for who is allowed to participate in them. Finally, the article questions the push toward normalization in DDR processes and the neglect of progressive changes in gender relations within armed groups during war.

Keywords: demobilization, reintegration, gender, actors, victims, normalization

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, DDR, Conflict, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Political Economies

Year: 2020

Conflict, Peace, and the Evolution of Women's Empowerment

Citation:

Webster, Kaitlyn, Chong Chen, and Kyle Beardsley. 2019. “Conflict, Peace, and the Evolution of Women's Empowerment.” International Organization 73 (2): 255-89.
 

Authors: Kaitlyn Webster, Chong Chen, Kyle Beardsley

Abstract:

How do periods of conflict and peace shape women’s empowerment around the world? While existing studies have demonstrated that gender inequalities contribute to the propensity for armed conflict, we consider how the anticipation and realization of armed conflict shape women’s opportunities for influence in society. Some scholars have pointed to the role that militarization and threat play in entrenching male dominance, while others have argued that periods of warfare can upend existing gender hierarchical orders. We posit mechanisms by which the preparation for and experiences during war affect change in women’s empowerment. We develop and test observable implications using cross-national data from 1900 to 2015. We find that, at least in the short and medium term, warfare can disrupt social institutions and lead to an increase in women’s empowerment via mechanisms related to role shifts across society and political shifts catalyzed by war. Reforming institutions and main- streaming gender during peace processes stand to have important legacies for gender power relations in postconflict societies, though much more may be needed for more permanent change.
 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Post-Conflict, Political Participation, Peace Processes, Violence

Year: 2019

Veteran Masculinities and Audiovisual Popular Music in Post-Conflict Croatia: A Feminist Aesthetic Approach to the Contested Everyday Peace

Citation:

Baker, Catherine. 2019. “Veteran Masculinities and Audiovisual Popular Music in Post-Conflict Croatia: A Feminist Aesthetic Approach to the Contested Everyday Peace.” Peacebuilding 7 (2): 226–42.

Author: Catherine Baker

Abstract:

In Croatia, campaigners for a more critical public reckoning with the memory of Croatia's 'Homeland War' (1991–5) and the national past confront embeddings of hegemonic myths of the war into everyday life. Among these are the stardom of a musician whose 'patriotic' music claims the same moral authority as the Croatian veterans' movement and whose public persona has embodied militarised masculinity since he became a wartime star. Popular music and youth engagement with it is thus among the sites where everyday understandings of peace are being contested. By exploring the audiovisual aesthetics of the song/video through which this musician re-engaged with veterans' activism in 1998, and showing that popular music spectatorship seeps into the everyday micropolitics of young people building and contesting peace, the paper argues that for critical peace and conflict studies to understand the affective politics of post-conflict masculinities, they must combine a feminist and aesthetic consciousness.

Keywords: audiovisual aesthetics, Croatia, everyday peace, masculinities, popular music, veterans

Topics: Age, Youth, Armed Conflict, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Post-Conflict, Peacebuilding Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Croatia

Year: 2019

Feminists Building Peace and Reconciliation: Beyond Post-Conflict

Citation:

Porter, Elisabeth. 2016. “Feminists Building Peace and Reconciliation: Beyond Post-Conflict.” Peacebuilding 4 (2): 210–25.

Author: Elisabeth Porter

Abstract:

Many feminists find the concept of ‘post-conflict’ troubling for two main reasons. First, the discursive space of post-conflict is contestable with fuzzy lines around when the conflict period becomes post-conflict. Second, for women, the period following the cessation of armed aggression continues to be one of insecurity, where intimate partner violence often remains high, particularly when male ex-combatants return from fighting. In the so-called post-conflict period, a culture of gendered violence, gendered insecurity and militarisation remains. I argue that the transition from conflict provides opportunities for transformation from a culture of violence to one of peace, from insecurity to security and from antagonism to reconciliation. This article outlines a four-fold conceptualisation of reconciliation as a spectrum, reconciling relationships, processes and cultures of reconciliation. To move beyond gender-blind notions of post-conflict, the article seeks to decipher what is uniquely feminist about these ideas in affirming feminist peacebuilding and reconciliation.

Keywords: feminist peacebuilding, gendered violence, insecurity, post-conflict, reconciliation

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Domestic Violence, Feminisms, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Security, Violence

Year: 2016

Jihadi Brides and Female Volunteers: Reading the Islamic State's War to See Gender and Agency in Conflict Dynamics

Citation:

Sjoberg, Laura. 2017. "Jihadi Brides and Female Volunteers: Reading the Islamic State’s War to See Gender and Agency in Conflict Dynamics." Conflict Management and Peace Science 35 (3): 296-311.

Author: Laura Sjoberg

Abstract:

Decades ago, Cynthia Enloe called for a research agenda looking for where women are in war and conflict. Enloe recognized that women play active roles in and are affected by wars and conflicts, but are often ignored in news coverage, policy analysis, and scholarship. The current conflict in Syria and Iraq appears as a counterexample: hundreds of millions of Google results mention women and the Islamic State (IS). Subjects vary widely: the stories cover female victims of IS, female recruits to IS, and women who fight IS. This article explores the hypervisibility of women in this conflict, looking for lessons about sex, gender, and conflict. The first part analyses discourses in a sample of major news reports, evaluating how different women around IS are represented. It finds that agency is removed from both female victims and female IS partisans, while it is exaggerated for women who fight against IS. This corresponds with emphasis on different gendered traits for differently positioned women. After tracing these gendered representations, the article applies theories of gender and conflict to understand how women have become central to the fighting and coverage of the conflict in Syria and Iraq. It concludes that paying attention both to the empirical presence of women and to the co-constitution of gender, war, and conflict augments understanding of this war, and across conflicts.

Keywords: feminist theory, gender, Islamic state, media coverage, terrorism, violence, war

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups, Terrorism, Violence Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq, Syria

Year: 2017

Beyond Masculinity: Gender, Conflict and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Northern Uganda

Citation:

Esuruku, Robert Senath. 2011. "Beyond Masculinity: Gender, Conflict and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Northern Uganda." Journal of Science & Sustainable Development 4: 25-40.

Author: Robert Senath Esuruku

Abstract:

Masculinity and femininity debates of armed conflict in Africa have always regarded men as fighters and women as passive victims of war. The exclusion of women from the armed forces in most traditional societies originated from the assumption that women are a weaker sex and therefore cannot manage military life. Nevertheless, women in Uganda have voluntarily joined the armed forces, while some of them have been abducted and forcefully recruited into the rebel forces. Notwithstanding the central role women have played in the armed conflict in Northern Uganda, they have been side-lined in the processes of peace negotiation and post conflict reconstruction of the region. This paper looks at how masculinity is manipulated in conflict and the role women have played in the conflict, peace process and post conflict reconstruction in Northern Uganda. 

Keywords: gender, post-conflict reconstruction, transitional justice

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2011

Crossing the Gender Boundaries or Challenging Masculinities? Female Combatants in the Kenya Defense Forces' (KDF) War Against Al-Shabaab Militants

Citation:

Ombati, Mokua. 2015. "Crossing Gender Boundaries or Challenging Masculinities? Female Combatants in the Kenya Defence Forces’ (KDF) War against Al-Shabaab Militants." Masculinities and Social Change 4 (2): 163-85.

Author: Mokua Ombati

Abstract:

Few institutions have historically presented more defined gender boundaries than the military. This study examines gender and war through the lens of military combat roles. Military combat roles have traditionally relied on and manipulated ideas about masculinity and femininity. Women arrive in the army with different types of capital and bring with them a shared cultural ‘tool kit’ (womanhood). Following the military’s labour allocation process, they are assigned combat roles, which is at variance to their gendered character. Assignment in non-traditional feminine roles means crossing gender boundaries. Ethnographic studies of the Kenya Defence Forces operations in Somalia reveal the different gendered characteristics of the military roles as reflected in the women’s soldiery experiences. The encounter with military power and authority challenges the women soldiers to redefine their feminine capital, to interpret the military reality via a gendered lens and, therefore, to critically (re)examine the patriarchal order. Grounded on the twin theoretical frameworks of socio-cultural capitals and cultural scripts, and structured on a gender framing of women’s military roles, the study illustrates the complex and contradictory realities of women in the army. The study unpacks the relationship between masculinity and femininity, and, war and the military. It underpins the value of the female soldier as a figurative illustration of the complex interrelations between the gendered politics of masculinity and femininity. It considers what the acts, practices and performances constitutive of female soldiering reveal about particular modes of governance, regulation and politics that arise from the sacrifices of soldiers in combatant.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya, Somalia

Year: 2015

Gender in the Representations of Armed Conflict

Citation:

Toivanen, Mari, and Bahar Baser. 2016. "Gender in the Representations of an Armed Conflict." Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication 9 (3): 294-314.

Authors: Mari Toivanen, Bahar Baser

Abstract:

The Syrian civil war has been, without doubt, the war most widely covered by international media in this millennium. Having engaged in an armed combat against the Islamic State (IS), Kurdish military troops, especially the female battalion, have received considerable international media attention. This study examines the gender dimension of national media representations of female Kurdish combatants belonging to the Protection Units (YPJ) in Syria. How have the female combatants been framed in British and French media? To what extent are these representations gendered? The overall data consists of news articles from national media outlets in France and in the United Kingdom between 2014 and 2015, and is analyzed with frame analysis. The results show that the juxtaposition of female combatants with IS fighters allows the depiction of the participation of the former as exceptional and heroic and as one that deconstructs the masculinity of its adversary. The role of female combatants in the ongoing conflict is represented in the British and French media through the construction of sexualized and modern-day heroine figures that are largely glorified.

Keywords: Kurdish, media, gender, framing, female combatant, Islamic state

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-state Armed Groups Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East, Europe, Northern Europe, Western Europe Countries: France, Syria, United Kingdom

Year: 2016

Diplomacy as Crisis: An Institutional Analysis of Gender and the Failure to Negotiate Peace in Israel

Citation:

Aharoni, Sarai B. 2018. "Diplomacy as Crisis: An Institutional Analysis of Gender and the Failure to Negotiate Peace in Israel." In Gendering Diplomacy and International Negotiation, edited by Karin Aggestam and Ann E. Towns, 193-211. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Sarai B. Aharoni

Abstract:

This chapter presents a feminist new-intuitionalist analysis of peace diplomacy and strategic dialogue through a historical reading of Israeli women’s participation in: (1) the secret meetings of Golda Meir and King Abdullah in 1947/8; (2) the Oslo peace process 1993-2000; and (3) the 2007 Annapolis Peace Summit. Women’s pattern of participation in all three examples was viewed through the lens of temporality—the status of peace negotiations as a crisis event or a state of emergency; and authority—the ability to produce institutional discourses on foreign policy. The cases demonstrate that war and peace politics create unstable mechanisms in which formal and informal institutional practices firmly restrict women’s access to diplomacy. The implications of extreme conditions of militarization, secrecy and structurelessness are further discussed.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peace Processes Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2018

Testimony Under Threat: Women’s Voices and the Pursuit of Justice in Post-War Sri Lanka

Citation:

Hoglund, Kristine. 2019. "Testimony Under Threat: Women’s Voices and the Pursuit of Justice in Post-War Sri Lanka." Human Rights Review 20: 361-82.

Author: Kristine Hoglund

Abstract:

This paper foregrounds how women’s public testimony as part of a formal transitional justice initiative is shaped by the particular context in which a commission operate, including the political and security environment. While the literature has engaged with the gendered predicaments of truth commissions after peace agreements and during transitions away from non-democratic rule, the function of such initiatives in more authoritarian and in immediate post-war contexts is generally overlooked. I examine women’s testimonies from Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), and contend that pervasive militarization and insecurity, and the conduct of the Commission, influenced the stories that came forth. Women’s testimonies in the war-torn areas primarily represent pleas for information about missing family members and reflect important silences about the women’s own experiences of abuse, including ongoing post-war insecurities. The analysis raises questions about what may be expected from transitional justice efforts in difficult post-war contexts.

Keywords: gender, Sri Lanka, public testimony, LLRC, human rights, transitional justice

Topics: Gender, Women, Justice, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Post-Conflict, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2019

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