The 'Transformative' in Reparations: Women, Nation and Victimhood in Croatia


Saric, Josipa. 2018. "The 'Transformative' in Reparations: Women, Nation and Victimhood in Croatia." PhD diss., University of Kent.

Author: Josipa Saric


This thesis interrogates the assumption that women's inclusion in the design of reparations increases their potential to transform structural gender inequality. In recent years, the call for increasing 'women's participation' in the design and implementation of reparations for victims of conflict-related sexual violence has gained substantial traction in both scholarship and policy. While existing research has focused on the structural obstacles that place limitations on women's participation in reparation processes, little has been said about how women's participation may limit the transformative potential of reparations. Drawing on a wide range of qualitative data, ranging from interviews to social media content, this case study takes a socio-legal approach to examine the role of a Croatian right-wing, non-feminist women's group in the process of drafting and adopting a reparation law for victims of conflict-related sexual violence and considers how this group's involvement has impacted the reparation law's potential to transform structural gender inequality in Croatia. The thesis shows that the women's group acquired influence that directed the course of the legislative process and the outcome of the law due to its particular discourse, strategic actions, calculated compromises and the socio-political context at the time. Furthermore, the thesis argues that the women's group's influence facilitated the reparation law's alignment to a particular nationalist discourse which, due to the inextricable link between gender and nationalism, places limitations on the law's potential to transform structural gender inequality in Croatia. Finally, it presents three important points to consider when conducting an evaluation of the law's implementation and embarking on the design of future transformative reparation initiatives in nationalist contexts. First, that the inclusion of women and victims may not necessarily lead to developing reparations that aim to transform structural gender inequality. Second, that a reparation law exclusively aimed at victims of conflict-related sexual violence designed in a context saturated with nationalism may reinforce gender inequality. And third, that the involvement of international bodies in the design and implementation of reparations in nationalist contexts may be used by local grassroots movements to put pressure on the state in unforeseen ways that do not challenge structural gender inequality.

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Justice, Reparations, Nationalism, Political Participation, Sexual Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Croatia

Year: 2018

"Being Strong Enough to Defend Yourself": Untangling the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda amidst the Ukranian Conflict


O'Sullivan, Mila. 2019. ""Being Strong Enough to Defend Yourself": Untangling the Women, Peace and Security Agenda amidst the Ukrainian Conflict." International Feminist Journal of Politics 21 (5): 746-67.

Author: Mila O'Sullivan


Following the outbreak of armed conflict in 2014, Ukraine adopted a National Action Plan within United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 for the period 2016–20, the first country in conflict to do so. Ukraine's case demonstrates that in a situation of active conflict, the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda becomes strongly linked to military security. Drawing on interviews, documents, and narratives by feminist and public figures, I argue that the WPS agenda in Ukraine has taken a narrow militarized form as a result of a combination of three interrelated and mutually constitutive factors: the ongoing conflict, nationalistic feminism, and the role of international organizations. The open conflict has generated a militaristic and nationalistic discourse among mainstream Ukrainians with an emphasis on defending the country. This discourse has been translated by international organizations and national actors into the WPS agenda, which has prioritized security sector reforms. Implementation of the WPS agenda in Ukraine therefore seems to be at odds with this norm's feminist principles. It is not leading to peace but to militarization, neglecting broader insecurities, including socioeconomic inequalities that have, in turn, been exacerbated by the conflict and the state's institutional reforms.

Keywords: conflict, UNSCR 1325, women, peace and security, Ukraine, nationalism, international organizations

Topics: Armed Conflict, Conflict, Feminisms, International Organizations, Livelihoods, Nationalism, Peace Processes, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Europe, Eastern Europe Countries: Ukraine

Year: 2019

Feminism, Nationalism and the Re-Ordering of Post-War Political Strategies: The Case of the Sinn Féin Women’s Department


Gilmartin, Niall. 2017. “Feminism, Nationalism and the Re-Ordering of Post- War Political Strategies: The Case of the Sinn Féin Women’s Department.” Irish Political Studies 32 (2): 268-92.

Author: Niall Gilmartin


Feminist criticisms of nationalism as a patriarchal structure often cite post-war regression, among others, as robust evidence of the pitfalls for women’s participation within such highly gendered movements. Based on in-depth interviews, this article critically examines the case of the Sinn Féin Women’s Department, and in particular focuses on the reasons for its ambiguous demise in the aftermath of the 1994 IRA cessation. While the ending of the Women’s Department appears to perfectly fulfil the consistent pattern of nationalism’s post-war regression, I argue that the roots of its downfall reside not in nationalism as such but in the institutionalisation of Provisional republicanism. As the republican movement ‘professionalised’ itself in preparation for its post-Troubles electoral struggle, we see a marked contrast in the ways in which women’s equality is conceptualised and pursued. In particular, as the radical organising of the Women’s Department is furtively wound down, what emerged in its place, the Equality Department embraced visions and strategies that are largely indistinguishable from any other mainstream political party. Despite Sinn Féin’s progressive record on promoting women, it appears that feminism is now consigned by the republican movement to its ‘revolutionary past’ and the radical politics of yester-year.

Keywords: Republican women, feminism, nationalism, Sinn Fein Women's Department, conflict transition

Topics: Feminisms, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Nationalism, Post-Conflict Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Ireland

Year: 2017

Rethinking Homonationalism


Puar, Jasbir. 2013. "Rethinking Homonationalism." International Journal of Middle East Studies 45 (2): 336-39. 

Author: Jasbir Puar


"In my 2007 monograph Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (hereafter TA), I develop the conceptual frame of "homonationalism" for understanding the complexities of how "acceptance" and "tolerance" for gay and lesbian subjects have become a barometer by which the right to and capacity for national sovereignty is evaluated. I had become increasingly frustrated with the standard refrain of transnational feminist discourse as well as queer theories that unequivocally stated, quite vociferously throughout the 1990s, that the nation is heteronormative and that the queer is inherently an outlaw to the nation-state. While the discourse of American exceptionalism has always served a vital role in U.S. nation-state formation, TA examines how sexuality has become a crucial formation in the articulation of proper U.S. citizens across other registers like gender, class, and race, both nationally and transnationally. In this sense, homonationalism is an analytic category deployed to understand and historicize how and why a nation's status as "gay-friendly" has become desirable in the first place. Like modernity, homonationalism can be resisted and re-signified, but not opted out of: we are all conditioned by it and through it." (Puar 2013, 336)


Topics: Citizenship, Class, Feminisms, Gender, LGBTQ, Nationalism, Race Regions: Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2013

Praise or Critique? Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy in the Eyes of its Fellow EU Members


Rosén Sundström, Malena, and Ole Elgström. 2019. “Praise or Critique? Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy in the Eyes of its Fellow EU Members.” European Politics and Society, September 11.

Authors: Malena Rosén Sundström, Ole Elgström


In 2014, the Swedish Government proclaimed that it would pursue a Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP). This initiative illustrates Sweden’s role as a norm entrepreneur, challenging predominant normative frames by enhancing existing gender equality norms. Our article is a first attempt to investigate how other state actors perceive the legitimacy, coherence and effectiveness of this policy innovation. The focus is on the perceptions of diplomatic representatives from other European Union member states. The article is based on a survey and in-depth interviews with officials at member state permanent representations. Our findings demonstrate that it is well-known that Sweden pursues a feminist foreign policy, though knowledge is often superficial. Overall, the FFP is positively perceived. Sweden is generally regarded as a leader in the promotion of gender norms. There are, however, also critical voices. In some countries, the word ‘feminist’ evokes negative reactions. While most respondents think the FFP has had a positive effect on Sweden’s international image, less are convinced that other states will follow suit. The current context, with nationalism and populism on the rise, is not seen as appropriate for pursuing a FFP. Sweden’s success as a norm entrepreneur in this field is thus questioned.

Keywords: feminist foreign policy, sweden, European Union, perceptions, norms

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Nationalism Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2019

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."


Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present


Al-Ali, Nadje Sadiq. 2007. Iraqi Women: Untold Stories from 1948 to the Present. London: Zed Books.

Author: Nadje Sadiq Al-Ali


The war in Iraq has put the condition of Iraqi women firmly on the global agenda. For years, their lives have been framed by state oppression, economic sanctions and three wars. Now they must play a seminal role in reshaping their country's future for the twenty-first century.

Nadje Al-Ali challenges the myths and misconceptions which have dominated debates about Iraqi women, bringing a much needed gender perspective to bear on the central political issue of our time. Based on life stories and oral histories of Iraqi women, she traces the history of Iraq from post-colonial independence, to the emergence of a women's movement in the 1950s, Saddam Hussein's early policy of state feminism to the turn towards greater social conservatism triggered by war and sanctions. Yet, the book also shows that, far from being passive victims, Iraqi women have been, and continue to be, key social and political actors. Following the invasion, Al-Ali analyses the impact of occupation and Islamist movements on women's lives and argues that US-led calls for liberation has led to a greater backlash against Iraqi women. (Summary from ZED Books)

Table of Contents:

1. Living in the Diaspora

2. Living with the Revolution

3. Living with the Ba'th

4. Living with Wars on Many Fronts

5. Living with War and Sanctions

6. Living with the Occupation


Topics: Armed Conflict, Occupation, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Nationalism, Political Participation, Religion Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iraq

Year: 2007

Clashes, Collaborations and Convergences: Evolving Relations of Turkish and Kurdish Women’s Rights Activists


Al-Ali, Nadje, and Latif Taṣ. 2019. "Clashes, Collaborations and Convergences: Evolving Relations of Turkish and Kurdish Women’s Rights Activists." Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies 21 (3): 304-18.

Authors: Nadje Al-Ali, Latif Taṣ


This article discusses the various ways the Kurdish women’s movement has impacted feminism in the Turkish context. Against the background of the problematic historical relationship between Turkish and Kurdish women’s rights activists, the article explores the shift in perceptions of, attitudes towards and relations of feminists in Turkey with the Kurdish women’s movement. The article shows that a ‘new generation of feminists’ in Turkey appreciates and is inspired by the Kurdish women’s movement, and rejects the Kemalist and nationalist undertones of earlier generations. Without wanting to belittle on-going nationalism and the rise of women’s cadres linked to the authoritarian Turkish regime, the article analyses the various ways the intersectional long-term struggle of Kurdish women is being perceived, recognized and critically engaged with by many Turkish feminist activists.

Topics: Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Nationalism, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Turkey

Year: 2019

Reconsidering Nationalism and Feminism: The Kurdish Political Movement in Turkey


Al‐Ali, Nadje, and Latif Tas. 2018. "Reconsidering Nationalism and Feminism: The Kurdish Political Movement in Turkey." Nations and Nationalism 24 (2): 453-73.

Authors: Nadje Al-Ali, Latif Tas


Feminist scholars have documented with reference to multiple empirical contexts that feminist claims within nationalist movements are often side‐lined, constructed as ‘inauthentic’ and frequently discredited for imitating supposedly western notions of gender‐based equality. Despite these historical precedents, some feminist scholars have pointed to the positive aspects of nationalist movements, which frequently open up spaces for gender‐based claims. Our research is based on the recognition that we cannot discuss and evaluate the fraught relationship in the abstract but that we need to look at the specific historical and empirical contexts and articulations of nationalism and feminism. The specific case study we draw from is the relationship between the Kurdish women's movement and the wider Kurdish political movement in Turkey. We are exploring the ways that the Kurdish movement in Turkey has politicised Kurdish women's rights activists and examine how Kurdish women activists have reacted to patriarchal tendencies within the Kurdish movement.

Keywords: ethnic nationalism, feminism, Kurdish women's movement, middle east, PKK, Turkey

Topics: Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Nationalism, Political Participation, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Turkey

Year: 2018

“War Is like a Blanket”: Feminist Convergences in Kurdish and Turkish Women’s Rights Activism for Peace


Al-Ali, Nadje, and Latif Tas. 2017. "'War Is like a Blanket': Feminist Convergences in Kurdish and Turkish Women’s Rights Activism for Peace." Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 13 (3): 354-75.

Authors: Nadje Al-Ali, Latif Tas


Despite the recent outbreak of violence and conflict, peace continues to be high on the agenda of the Kurdish political movement and many progressive Turkish intellectuals and activists. Based on qualitative research we conducted in Diyarbakır, Istanbul, London, and Berlin in 2015–16, we show that Kurdish activists have struggled to make the eradication of gender-based inequalities and violence central to the wider Kurdish peace movement, while Turkish women’s rights activists have increasingly recognized that the war against the Kurds, “like a blanket,” often papers over gender injustices. Both Kurdish and Turkish activists stress the necessity of understanding that a just and sustainable peace must include gender equality and that gender justice cannot be achieved in times of war. Thus feminist convergences in Kurdish and Turkish activism present peace and women’s rights as inseparable and generate the potential to challenge nationalist state power and the militarization of society.

Keywords: peace, Turkish Kurdish conflict, Kurdish political movement, women's rights movement, Turkey

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Nationalism, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict Regions: MENA, Asia, Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Turkey

Year: 2017


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