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Monday, July 5, 2010 The fairer sex in theory – gender approaches in IR and integration studies Recommended reading: J.A.Tickner/L.Sjoberg, Feminism, in.

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Presentation on theme: "Monday, July 5, 2010 The fairer sex in theory – gender approaches in IR and integration studies Recommended reading: J.A.Tickner/L.Sjoberg, Feminism, in."— Presentation transcript:

1 Monday, July 5, 2010 The fairer sex in theory – gender approaches in IR and integration studies Recommended reading: J.A.Tickner/L.Sjoberg, Feminism, in Dunne/Kurki/Smith op.cit. J.A.Tickner, Gender in World Politics, in: Baylis/Smith/Owens op.cit. J.True, Feminism, in Burchill et al, op.cit. B.Locher/E.Prügl: Gender and European Integration, in Wiener/Diez, op.cit.

2 Preliminary points One of the more interesting things about feminism is that unlike postmodernism, much of feminist theorising directly emerges from the experience of political struggle. This means that the insights it attempts to draw are often concrete and have some application in daily life. An important thing to understand is that there is not one feminism. There are multiple approaches to the study of gender in international relations, many of which overlap or contradict each other.

3 Preliminary points II „…gender is not just about women but also about the way international policies are framed, studied, and implemented…“ „ Conventional IR relies on generalized rationalist explanations of asocial states‘ behaviour in an anarchic international system. IR feminist theories focus on social relations, particularly gender relations; rather than anarchy, they see an international system constituted by socially constructed gender hierarchies which contribute to gender subordination.“ Tickner/Sjoberg, Feminism, in Dunne/Kurki/Smith, pp 210, pp197

4 Very briefly… A feminist IR involves looking at how international politics affects and is affected by both men and women and also at how the core concepts that are employed within the discipline of IR (e.g. war, security, etc.) are themselves gendered. Feminist IR has not only concerned itself with the traditional focus of IR on states, wars, diplomacy, and security, but feminist IR scholars have also emphasized the importance of looking at how gender shapes the current global political economy. In this sense, there is no clear cut division between feminists working in IR and those working in the area of IPE.

5 A post - Cold War child ? Feminist IR emerged largely from the late 1980s onwards. The end of the Cold War and the re- evaluation of traditional IR theory during the 1990s opened up a space for gendering International Relations. Because feminist IR is linked broadly to the critical project in IR, most feminist scholarship has sought to problematise the politics of knowledge construction within the discipline - often by adopting methodologies of deconstructivism associated with postmodernism/poststructuralism. However, the growing influence of feminist and women-centric approaches within the international policy communities is more reflective of the liberal feminist emphasis on equality of opportunity for women Gender Equality politics/Gleichstellungspolitik

6 Outline Gender, Not Sex Where are the Women? Masculine Logic Key Concepts Diversity of Feminist Theory Main Points

7 Gender, Not Sex Core concept around which feminist theorising has developed: idea of gender. Most of us know what sex we are: male or female. This is biological. However, gender, feminists claim, is social not biological. Why is this distinction important? The point feminists make is that social categorization is not automatic and typically reflects the imposition of a particular view of the right social order. This order usually attaches different values to the two genders. For example, masculinity is associated with autonomy, sovereignty, objectivity, universalism, the capacity for reason and abstraction. Femininity is held to be the absence of these qualities.

8 Where are the Women? Women are ignored by mainstream IR research, claim Feminist IR thinkers. Women's lives and experiences are excluded in thinking and theorising in IR, as are female scholars. Current research in IR represents only a partial "malestream" view as a consequence. Many feminist writers argue that thinking of IR only as high politics (... of war...) ignores the degree to which diplomacy reflects the intervention of women. It also ignores the consequences of military action on the social and material survival of communities.

9 Where are the Women? (cont) Being concerned to look for women in politics leads to gender-sensitive research designed to change the sort of knowledge produced about politics. Examples include: evaluating the role of women in third world development; the effect on women of changed social policies in industrial societies; the gender-particular effects of the activities of international organizations; and the re-institutionalization of rigid gender divisions in the post-Communist societies of central and east Europe.

10 Masculine Logic Key concepts of IR theory are gendered. Feminists argue that gender relations have not been studied in IR because the field is gendered. That is, the study of IR is not neutral but reflects in its key concepts - power, sovereignty, anarchy and security - elements of a patriarchal division between the public and private. In this view, male experiences and forms of knowledge are inside the public sphere, whereas those of women have been historically located within the private sphere, which has been thought not to count in IR thinking.

11 Masculine Logic (cont) So, not only IR excludes/marginalizes women, it’s based on gender-specific assumptions linked to the dominance of men. From an analytical point of view, feminist IR theorists argue the failure of malestream IR to see that the gendering of their theory limits the ability of most IR thinking to explain change and continuity in world politics. A major feature of the feminist incorporation of gender into IR theory is rejection of the separation of domestic and "international" politics, just as the idea of private and public spheres is rejected. The domestic and international are conceived instead as interdependent. Attempts to exclude the domestic, like the private, from IR thinking reflect gendered notions of what counts in IR.

12 Key Concepts Some feminist scholars have sought to painstakingly reveal how the supposedly non- gendered actors of Realism, for example, in fact reflect male assumptions and concerns. Here are five examples: 1. Man. As you know, Realism and Liberalism see people as rational, self-maximizing actors. But is this an accurate model of humanity, ask feminist IR thinkers, or is it actually a model made by men about how some men operate in a particular context of relations between genders?

13 Key Concepts (cont) 2. The State. Rather than conceive of the state as a reflection of sovereignty, some gender theorists see states as reflective of gender power, which acts on men and women to socialize narrow versions of gender identities into them. Men are identified with the public realm as bringers of order, while women are identified with private thinking or anarchy, which, of course, is in principle the source of threats to the international system in Realist and Liberal thought.

14 Key Concepts (cont) 3. Power. This is typically conceived as "power- over" in most IR theory: the ability of A to get B to do something B would not otherwise have done. But, say feminist IR theorists, this rests on the male-centered assumption that autonomy equals being free from the direct influence of others. An alternative view of power is to focus on the ways in which the rules of the game are organized in advance of 'power-over'. Power is then a much broader and more significant thing altogether in feminist IR theory.

15 Key Concepts (cont) 4. Rationality. Realists argue that instrumental reasoning is central to IR. This is when thinking is a means to an end and therefore where relationships are also means to an end. In IR, this means that international cooperation and collaboration is always just a means to an end for Realists. Feminist IR theorists respond by arguing that this version of rationality is gendered. Rationality here is a disembodied and detached masculine way of seeing the world that abstracts from historical context and the human relationships which women are responsible for maintaining. But the world isn't like this, say the feminists.

16 Key Concepts (cont) 5. Security. The role of deterrence in creating stability in anarchy is rejected as an adequate definition of security by feminist IR theorists. Realism is seen as endangering by elevating a male concern with power-over to the supreme value of the global system. Security: Defined broadly in multidimensional and multilevel terms. Security of individuals is related to national and international politics Security threats include: domestic violence, rape, poverty, gender subordination, ecological destruction, war Those at the margins of states may be rendered more insecure by their state’s security policies

17 Key Concepts (cont) Much of the legitimacy of war is based on the cultural construction that men fight wars to protect ‘vulnerable people’ Yet, women and children constitute a majority of casualties in recent wars Feminists highlight: Militaries are often threats to individuals’ (particularly women’s) security and competitors for scarce resources on which women may depend more than men Wartime rape as a deliberate military strategy Economic insecurity: women are disproportionately located at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale in all societies. Disproportionate poverty cannot be explained by market conditions alone. Gendered role expectations contribute to women’s economic insecurity : economic worth of women’s work kinds of tasks that women are expected to do

18 Diversity of Feminist Theory It is important to understand that there are a variety of different feminist approaches and debates. Here are some examples from the world of feminist thought. Liberal feminism is the most commonsense-like version. It looks at the roles women play in world politics. How are women excluded from power, ask the Liberal Feminists? Liberal Feminists want the same rights men enjoy extended to women. Marxist/socialist feminism focuses on the international capitalist system. Marxist feminists see the oppression of women as a result of capitalism, whereas socialist feminists see both capitalism and patriarchy as the structures to be overcome. Critical feminism applies Robert Cox’s approach but with a focus on women. Puts much emphasis on the ideas men and women attach to their relationships and where those ideas come from.

19 Diversity (cont) Feminist Constructivism also focuses on ideational elements of world politics. Challenge Neorealist notions of states as unitary actors. Postmodernist feminists are concerned with examining how societies shape masculinity and femininity (and how these differ over time and between societies) especially through language. Postcolonial feminism are concerned with racial stereotypes, being especially critical of the domination of feminism by white western women.

20 Main Points The three most important things to keep in mind about feminist IR theory in general: 1. like feminist thinking throughout the social sciences, the central claim is that gender is a social issue and not a biological one; 2. the rejection of fixed elements or structures in IR theory (such as anarchy); and 3. passionate interest in the possibilities for change in world politics.

21 …also have a look at the next PPT set…...in this sense…


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