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Feminist International Relation's Theory

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Catalina Ramirez

on 13 February 2014

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Transcript of Feminist International Relation's Theory

Cynthia Enloe
Focus on core international issues of war, militarism, and security
"Mainstream IR" = "Malestream IR"
Gender discussions are absent from International Relations discourses
Introduces key concept of "Feminist Consciousness"
J. Ann Tickner
Some of her books: "Gendering World Politics: Issues and Approaches in the Post-Cold War Era" and "Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving International Security"
Some Streams of Feminist IR Theory
An Overview
Feminist IR Theory vs. Realism
Realist belief of states as unitary actors
Characteristics central to Realism defined in terms associated with masculinity
Discourse on power
Realist use of natural science to build theories seeking universal truths that are neutral & value free
1980s: Feminist IR Begins to emerge, especially with the end of the Cold War

Key Scholars: Carol Cohn, Cynthia Enloe, Charlotte Hooper, and J. Ann Tickner
Feminist International Relations Theory

Some Key Assumptions, Beliefs and Concepts
gender is a social construction
gender is an organizing principles of all societies
core concepts of IR are inherently gendered
The concept of Security
Traditional conceptions too narrow = shift is necessary
State as security provider?
Women absent in policy making processes linked to security
An evolving understanding of security
Liberal Feminism:
EQUALITY-focused, policy-oriented
Poststructuralist Feminism:
DIFFERENCE-focused, acknowledges diversity amongst genders
Standpoint Feminism:
Certain issues in IR can only be fully understood from the standpoint of a woman
By: Holly Lanesmith & Catalina Ramirez
Private vs. Public Divide
Carol Cohn
Charlotte Hooper
Pros and Cons
Discussion Questions
Given that feminist IR theory focuses so much on the individual (bottom up approach), do you think it's equipped to deal with and conceptualize about broader, more international concepts and issues like that of security, war, etc?
Brings gender concerns into IR & international politics
IR as inherently masculine
Mainstream theories use male-constructed reality as given
Challenge to the way field has been traditionally constructed
Need to transgress levels of analysis
Need to change methodologies
Split as a result of gender hierarchies
Security linked to public sphere
Leads to the insecurity of women
Focus on security & how to make women visible in the conception of it
Considered a standpoint feminist by some
Did you know?
first Feminist IR theorist to serve as president of the International Studies Association
Interested in process of gender-identity formation
Feminism brought absent variable of gender to IR
Does IR play a role in shaping, defining, and legitimizing masculinity/masculinities in present IR world?
Gender identities as causes & effects of IR
Intersection of gender with other social divisions
New approaches needed to understand creation of masculinities & their impact on women
Gives voice to marginalized group
Places women in IR
New ways of thinking, understanding & practicing IR
Does it fall in realm of IR?
Women better than men
Ability to deal with macr-level concepts & issues
Currently, we talk about how states operate within a Realist framework. What do you think a world would look like where the primary theoretical foundation for the way states operate was that of a feminist IR perspective? (in terms of policy-making, state interaction, war etc)
Focus is on the need to deconsruct the theory itself
Cannot simply add "Feminist" to the term "Security Studies" for women to be integrated
Importance of taking into account different types of Feminist thinkers and activists
Full transcript