Does "Gender" Make the World Go Round?

Feminist Critiques of International Relations

by Adam Jones

Review of International Studies, 22: 4 (1996), pp. 405-429.

(Winner of the British International Studies Association award for best Review article of 1996.)

Avenues of Feminist Critique
Feminism and Realism: Some Concluding Comments
War, Peace, and Feminism
Towards An International Politics of Gender

Note: For citation purposes, a new page number in the text as originally published in Review of International Studies is indicated by square brackets and boldface, e.g., "which even its adherents [406] will acknowledge as ..."

1998 Update

The article has elicited a response by a troika of scholars from Bristol University - see Carver et al., "Gendering Jones," Review of International Studies, 24: 2 (1998). I was given 2,500 words to respond [link now or later to Jones, "Engendering Debate." (1998)].


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In the last two decades, the classical tradition in international relations(1) has come under sustained attack on a number of fronts, and from a diverse range of critics. Most recently, feminist thinkers, following in the footsteps of neo-Marxists and critical theorists, have denounced IR as "one of the most gender-blind, indeed crudely patriarchal, of all the institutionalized forms of contemporary social and political analysis."(2) Feminists have sought to subvert some of the most basic elements of the classical paradigm: the assumption of the state as a given; conceptions of power and "international security"; and the model of a rational human individual standing apart from the realm of lived experience, manipulating it to maximize his own self-interest. Denouncing standard epistemological assumptions and theoretical approaches as inherently "masculinist," feminists, particularly those from the radical band of the spectrum, have advanced an alternative vision of international relations: one that redefines power as "mutual enablement" rather than domination, and offers normative values of cooperation, care giving, and compromise in place of patriarchal norms of competition, exploitation, and self-aggrandizement.

At the same time, the feminist critique has subsumed an historical-revisionist project. Independently of whether they seek to jettison existing theoretical frameworks, feminists, by definition, reclaim women as subjects of history, politics, and international relations. The classical conception of IR, with its emphasis on the state-as-(primary-actor, and its fascination with the role of the statesman, is prone to being, at the very least, reworked and supplemented in feminist schemata. The revisionist project likewise does not spare alternative "progressive" critiques such as neo-Marxist or global-society theories. Hence, to take one example, dependency theory's focus on the international division of labour is transformed, in feminist scholarship, into an arguably more nuanced and holistic picture that analyzes the division of labour along gender as well as class lines.

But I speak too glibly of "feminist scholarship," "the feminist critique." In fact, few schools of criticism are as diverse and diffuse as feminism, which even its adherents will acknowledge as "a fractured and heavily contested discourse" and "a site of active political struggle."(3) This diversity carries through to feminist critiques of IR. It results from the varied philosophical orientations of modern feminism (liberal, radical, socialist, and so on), and from the recently prominent post-positivist strand of feminist criticism, which rejects many of the hallowed suppositions of rationalism and positivism. Theoretical "consistency," ideological cohesion, the detached observer - all these are called into question by post-positivist feminists, as by post-positivists more generally.(4)

For the purposes of this discussion, though, three essential features of feminist theories can be proposed. One has been mentioned: the focus on women as historical and political actors. A second, and related, essential feature is an epistemological foundation in the realm of women's experiences. A normative dimension is also evident in nearly all feminist theorizing. Its essence is the contention that women and the feminine constitute historically underprivileged, under-represented, and under-recognized social groups and "standpoints"; and this should change in the direction of greater equality. (One would want to allow here for post-positivist feminism that questions, while perhaps not fully rejecting, the assigning of social-group status. This school goes further than most in emphasizing the arbitrariness of gendered femininity and masculinity.)

Thus defined and viewed, I contend that feminism's primary, and seminal, contribution to the study of international relations is its focus on the gender variable. In Peterson's summary,

Feminist scholarship, both deconstructive and reconstructive, takes seriously the following two insights: first, that gender is socially constructed, producing subjective identities through which we see and know the world; and second, that the world is pervasively shaped by gendered meanings. That is, we do not experience or "know" the world as abstract "humans" but as embodies, gendered beings. As long as that is the case, accurate understanding of agents - as knowable and as knowers - requires attention to the effects of our "gendered states."(5)
If this stands as feminism's most important contribution, then it is incumbent on me to explain why I believe feminist attempts to come to grips with the gender variable remain limited, even radically constrained. This article seeks to provide an overview of some major contributions and features of feminist IR thinking, with particular attention to the problem of war and peace that has attracted adherents of the classical approach more than any other. What I take to be the more resonant contributions of feminist theory are given their due. But with no less "presumptuousness" than feminists have displayed in invading the hallowed halls of classicism, I also "homestead" in feminist theory, examining not only constructive contributions, but also feminism's common missteps and blind spots. The modest contribution I hope to make to the theorizing of the gender variable occupies the final section of the article. I call for an expansion of the seminal "discovery" of feminism - the [407] gender variable in international relations - by moving beyond feminism's standard equation of gender, an inclusive designation, with women/femininity, a narrower and more restrictive on.(6)

This last, central point may be rendered more clearly by utilizing Sapiro's three-step conceptualization for the incorporation of a gender variable into social and political analysis:

During the first phase of the development of feminist studies, gender may become a variable, and women a topic of research, but the models, methods, language, and theories remain by and large intact ...
In the second phase we learn more directly from women and their experiences, less mediated by androcentrism. There is more attention to the gender-specific context of women's lives, to their subjectivity, to the things they have done and thought and felt that most men may have been unaware of ...
A third phase takes a shifted frame and looks beyond women. At this stage we criticize not just particular theories or assumptions as they have been applied to women, but as they are constructed and apply in any case ... Our very understanding of the meaning of the political may change as a result of what we learn through a shifted, gendered focus ... The point is to take gender-informed stances, becoming reflexive in understanding the role that gender (including that of the observer) plays.(7)
The feminist project is at least well advanced in the second stage as Sapiro defines it. But the overall project still seems constrained by feminism's primary assumptions. "Second-stage" feminism, as Sapiro makes plain, is grounded in the lived experiences of women. It has so far displayed only small interest in expanding its purview to permit a more broadly "gender-informed" stance in international politics and the social sciences more generally. "Feminists," says Sara Ruddick in Maternal Thinking, "are partisans of women."(8) And partisanship and scholarship do not always mix easily.

To see this more clearly, though, we will need some understanding both of the diversity of feminist IR and of the core concerns and methodologies that tend strongly to animate it.


Avenues of feminist critique

The critique of realist discourse

Feminists are hardly alone in criticizing the vocabulary and epistemological underpinnings of the classical tradition. Indeed, Walker acknowledges "the difficulty - and thus undesirability - of distinguishing sharply between feminist and other forms of contemporary critical enquiry."(9) Some feminists draw from neo-Marxist scholarship a distrust of core realist strategies, such as the presentation of states as unitary actors - which Marxists see as concealing the contradictions in state action, and skating over the difficulty of defining the state as such. From post-positivism, other feminists derive a distrust of the classical tradition's most basic "opposed dualisms": between the unitary state and the international realm of states; security and insecurity; war and peace; order and anarchy; and, most fundamentally, discrete subject versus knowable (and assimilable) object.

What is distinctive about feminism's approach to this critical discourse is its focus on the gender dimension of classical concepts and strategies. This also provides the underpinning for feminist critiques of other schools that, while critical of realist thinking, do not incorporate a gender variable. Feminist see the classical tradition as an offshoot of, and proselytizing device for, a political order that subordinates and excludes women. Thus Tickner's critique of "hegemonic masculinity" contends that "international politics is such a thoroughly masculinized sphere of activity that women's voices are considered inauthentic ... The values and assumptions that drive our contemporary international system are intrinsically related to concepts of masculinity; privileging these values constrains the options available to states and their policy-makers."(10)

Prime among the values and assumptions is a "ubiquitous androcentrism" which posits men's lived experiences as human universals, resulting in "a systematic bias of codified knowledge and cultural ideologies."(11) Often a class variable is admitted to the hegemonic arrangement: it is elite men that are seen as setting the terms of life and discourse for all - women and non-elite males alike. But while men can be denatured or physically annihilated within this discourse, their realm and experiences are nonetheless privileged. It is fair to say that a very common motif, one that almost deserves inclusion on a list of feminism's defining features, is of men as an international ruling class, their internal squabbles secondary to the basic challenge of suppressing women.

The critique of "masculinist" hegemony tends to be launched from two different founding assumptions within feminism. These can be described as broadly essentialist versus constructivist orientations, and a marked shift is evident from the former to the latter as feminist critiques have grown in number and prominence. Essentialist positions view the ascriptive traits of feminine and masculine as reflecting primarily an innate, biologically grounded difference between the sexes. For most essentialists, a key independent variable is the capacity to bear children. [409] This is held to orient women towards a nurturing/care-giving role, one deeply attuned to natural processes and respectful toward the natural environment. Men, on the other hand, lack the opportunities (and constraints) that childbearing presents. Thus, they reject the "grounding" it provides, and view the natural realm instead as an arena for manipulation and exploitation. In the area of international relations, essentialist perspectives usually translate to a linking of masculine traits and global disharmony or conflict. I will consider these views in greater detail in discussing feminist perspectives on IR's classical preoccupation, the problem of peace and war.

Constructivist positions, by contrast, make no claims for the centrality of sex or gender beyond the role that constructed gender values and identities play in determining priorities and behaviour. For example, an analytical distinction is often drawn between masculinity and men. The former gendering may not correspond to the personality or preferences of most biological men; but as an ideology it rules the roost, and exerts a profoundly denaturing and distorting influence in human affairs.

When constructivist leanings combine with post-positivism, the result is a deep suspicion even of the basic labels of sex and gender. Thus Christine Sylvester refers to "people called women," "embodied women" as opposed to constructed femininity. Gender identities, and the "standpoints" they generate, are always dynamic, always in flux. Sylvester and other post-positivist feminists are often alive to the threat a "standpoint" perspective poses to essentialist positions and presumptions.

At a certain point, however, essentialist and constructivist positions tend to converge - when feminists turn to a critique of the actually existing social and global order. We have seen that a normative agenda drives most feminist theory: the conviction that women and the feminine have always been oppressed and degraded in male-dominant human society. There is no feminist critic or theorist who does not hope and seek to better women's lot, materially and existentially.

From this vantage point, IR classicists are often criticized for their social conservatism, which many feminists see as a reflection of a deeper masculine fear of woman-as-nature. Hence the realist's positing of a chaotic "feminine" international environment, the "state of nature," as against the ordered, rational, "masculine" nation-state. Virtually without exception, feminist IR theorists strive to illuminate and deconstruct this dichotomy. All acknowledge that the governing ideologies of world affairs, and the designation of what is analytically primary versus what is subsidiary, have been developed and perpetuated by men, or (with a not to post-positivists) "people called men."

On what specific assumptions and underpinnings of realism have recent feminist critiques tended to centre? I will take these in turn, proceeding from realism's epistemological assumptions to some of the more policy-specific outgrowths of the "realist mindset." Again, it is necessary to bear in mind that most of these critiques do not originate with feminism, nor are they unique to it. What is distinctive about the feminist orientation is the incorporation of the gender variable, and the exploration of its influence on women and (to a lesser extent) society as a whole.

Opposed dualisms

For the most recent wave of proponents of the so-called reflexive turn in international relations, no epistemological issue is so central as the positivist division of experience into discrete knower and objective known. One has the sense that for post-positivists, scientific rationalism constitutes a kind of Original [410] Sin from which all other transgressions - domination, exploitation, subjugation, even annihilation - follow more or less as a matter of course.(12)

It is worth pointing out the criticisms of realism that seem to derive, in large part, from the increasingly popular post-positivist feminist stance. Prime among these is the depiction of realism as inextricably bound up with a hierarchical world order. This order is, in turn, predicated on the kind of subject/object distinctions that post-positivists reject. Realists depict themselves and their craft as adopting a dispassionate, "objective" critical stance, standing epistemologically outside the world of international politics, though normatively committed to and engaged with it.(13) Post-positivist feminists, instead, see realism as constructed and bolstered by political hierarchies that generate both rigid conceptual dichotomies and a set of Realpolitik strategies founded on power and dominance. In these feminist eyes, then, the realist project is compromised from the start. Claims to scholarly autonomy and dispassionate observation are untenable. To analyze the world in realist terms is to perpetuate an unjust status quo.

The distinctively feminist dimension to this critique is a focus on the extent to which realist discourse perpetuates gender hierarchies along with hierarchies of class and state. Realism, and classical political theory in general, do not merely establish binary oppositions. They privilege one element in the equation over the other. What is male/masculine is standard, universal, the measure by which everything other is judged. Many feminists thus isolate a masculinist (more than simply elitist) core to realism. This reinforces the subjugation of women or, at the very least, sets the terms on which women will be admitted to social and political "equality."

If the most influential strands of feminism tend now toward a post-positivist orientation, this is not to ignore the strong (and once dominant) strain of feminism that concentrates its efforts on supplementing classical frameworks by incorporating the gender variable. The liberal-feminist tradition tends to view existing structures as masculinist by composition, but not necessarily by definition. It therefore seeks to open up these structures - political, economic, academic - to female candidates and contributions. From this viewpoint, epistemological orientations such as empiricism are seen as innately human, even if their practical and especially public application has ordinarily been a male preserve. Although, as noted, the prominence of this liberal perspective has declined in recent years, there are signs that it may be staging a comeback as some of the more paradoxical or stifling aspects of post-positivism become evident.

The realist assumption of the state

The classical paradigm places primary emphasis on the world system as a level of analysis. But the constituent actors in the realist scenario are states - accepted as givens, "abstract unitary actors whose actions are explained through laws that can be universalized across time and place [411] and whose internal characteristics are irrelevant to the operation of these laws."(14) Tickner contends that this image of state action is fundamentally "antihumanist" in its reification of the state. But it is also masculinist in its privileging of traditionally male-oriented values:
Behind this reification of state practices hide social institutions that are made and remade by individual actions. In reality, the neorealist depiction of the state as a unitary actor is grounded in the historical practices of the Western state system: neorealist characterizations of state behavior, in terms of self-help, autonomy, and power seeking, privilege characteristics associated with the Western construction of masculinity.(15)
It is clear why feminists tend to place such emphasis on the realist state-as-actor formulation. No political phenomenon has been subjected to such radical scrutiny and criticism in the past twenty years as the state, its composition, and its perpetuation in the spheres of production and reproduction. Feminism, as noted, rose to prominence alongside other radical critiques of the 1960s and '70s. It is hardly surprising, then, that the enduring radical-feminist tradition, best exemplified by Catharine MacKinnon, has been most insistent on a re-evaluation of the state from a gender perspective. Radical feminism charges the domestic political order with negating the female/feminine and sharply constraining the role and political power of women. When a class analysis is integrated with the gender variable, as it usually is, we have a picture of the state as compromised and conflictive, predicated on the structured inequality of women and the poor (two categories that intersect to a greater or lesser degree in much feminist analysis, as in the real world). MacKinnon writes:
The state is male in the feminist sense ... The liberal state coercively and authoritatively constitutes the social order in the interest of men as a gender - through its legitimating norms, forms, relation to society, and substantive policies ... Formally, the state is male in that objectivity is its norm ... It legitimates itself by reflecting its view of society, a society it helps make by so seeing it, and calling that view, and that relation, rationality. Since rationality is measured by point-of-viewlessness, what counts as reason is that which corresponds to the way things are.(16)
The analysis here stops at the boundaries of the nation-state, but the implications for feminists of an international system composed of such units are clear. So, too, is the important difference between such radical-feminist formulations and radical-Marxist critiques of the state. While Marxism has spent much of the past two decades exploring the state's potential to act with "relative autonomy" from dominant social classes, MacKinnon and other radical feminists reject outright the possibility of the state ever acting against dominant male/masculine interests. "However autonomous of class the liberal state may appear, it is not autonomous of sex. Male power is systemic. Coercive legitimated, and epistemic, it is the regime."(17)

[412] A number of important feminist voices have rejected the radical-feminist vision of the liberal state.(18) But many, perhaps most, feminist IR theorists incorporate a good deal of the radical-feminist perspective in critiquing classical IR. This is particularly notable in critiques of classical conceptions of security, dealt with in more detail later. If the state is permeated to its foundations by gender bias, it cannot act in a neutral, disinterested, "self-maximizing" manner to provide security for its citizens. In fact, its very existence is predicated on the structured insecurity of half its population.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the feminist critique of the state - one that extends far beyond the boundaries of radical feminism - is the project to reclaim the private. The history of political theory from ancient Greece onwards centres, in the minds of many feminists, on the progressive isolation and devaluation of the "private" sphere (the household/oikos/domestic unit) where women have traditionally held sway, and the corresponding inflation of the public, male-dominated realm. Political thought has tended to define only the latter sphere as "political," in the sense of being shaped by active agents and competitive or conflictive power relations. Feminists - as noted, this is a consensus position - reject the notion that the realm where women's experiences are most commonly lived should be marginalized as an analytical concern. Instead, as Susan Moller Okin and others have persuasively argued, "the personal is political, and the public/domestic dichotomy is a misleading construct, which obscures the cyclical pattern of inequalities between men and women." Or, as Peterson and Runyan put it, with explicit reference to international relations:

Politics itself has to be redefined in view of the wide range of political activities in which women are highly involved ... Politics is about differential access to resources - both material and symbolic - and how such power relations and structures are created, sustained, and reconfigured. According to the broader definition, politics operates at all levels, ranging from the family and community to the state and the international sphere.(19)
The recognition of the importance and politicized nature of the domestic realm does not automatically lead to a particular set of prescriptions for conducting politics within or among states. Some feminists view women's traditional "relegation" to the home as itself a sign of subjugation. Many others contend that what is required is a revaluation of the domestic sphere - for example, to break down the distinction in political economy between productive and reproductive labour. A few argue that the values and strategies of oikonomia ('economics,' i.e., the management of the household) can be a vital well-spring of political power for progressive ends, when proclaimed and enacted publicly.

Whatever the prescriptive dimension, however, the reclamation of the private has diverse implications for the methodology of the IR discipline. What if scholars of international political economy standardly factored in women's contributions in the domestic/reproductive sphere? This would lead to a restructured vision of human beings' most basic economic processes and interactions - the material foundation, in international political economy, of the modern state system. Through the same lens, a gendered international division of labour (including, for example, the role of [413] domestic labourers) can be isolated and examined. The imperialist ambitions that created the modern system of nation-states can be connected to a structuring of gender relations that assigns men to public roles and invites them to test and demonstrate their manhood by exploring and conquering other lands.(20)

Feminist explorations of the private sphere may now have driven home the need to supplement the triumvirate of "levels" guiding classical analysis of international affairs. Alongside the atomized masculine individual of liberalism, the unitary state of realism, and the international system of realism/neo-Marxism, a new avenue of inquiry has been sketched. Its explanatory potential may be rich, for international relations and political science more generally.

The rational-actor model

The concept of the rational, self-maximizing actor is usually associated with liberal economic theory; but in key respects, it has been adopted by realism to depict unitary state action in the international system. In particular, realism posits a separate sphere of state activity, analytically distinguishable from domestic society and, thanks to an anarchic international environment, not subject to the rule-guided behaviour that directs and inhibits individuals in society.

Feminist critiques of the rational-actor model tend to centre on the extent to which the model is constituted by capitalist and patriarchal strategies: amoral profit maximization, in the case of the first; a focus on the male-dominated public sphere, in the second. Tickner argues that

individuals and states are socially constituted and ... what counts as rational action is embodied within a particular society. Since rationality is associated with profit maximization in capitalist societies, the accepted definition of rationality has been constructed out of activities related to the public sphere of the market and thus distinguished from the private sphere of the household. Feminists argue that, since it is men who have primarily occupied this public sphere, rationality as we understand it is tied to a masculine type of reasoning that is abstract and conceptual. Many women, whose lived experiences have been more closely bound to the private sphere of care giving and child rearing, would define rationality as contextual and personal rather than as abstract.(21)

The critique here is similar to one that feminists and others often deploy against epistemological "objectivity," accusing it of abstracting the observer to a point of callous detachment from the observed. The realist world, in Jean Bethke Elshtain's words, is one where "no children are ever born, and nobody ever dies ... There are states, and they are what is."(22) Again, the distinctive feminist contribution here is the labelling of Western-style rationality as a peculiarly male/masculinist phenomenon, reflecting and perpetuating patriarchal power.

An important supplementary element of the critique centres on the classical tradition's vision of nature. This issue has assumed paramount significance with the explosion of concern (again in tandem with the rise of feminism) over global environmental degradation. The "politics of defining 'natural resources' as 'there for the taking'" with "no permission required, no obligations incurred,"(23) is held to be implicit in realism's approach to power and resource distribution. Once again, more ecologically-minded feminists differ from other "green" discourses in identifying [414] the exploiter's mentality as distinctly "masculine." A responsible, conservationist attitude toward "Mother Earth" is also regularly posited as feminine, by virtue of women's innate and/or constructed leaning towards nurturing and care-giving roles.

Realist conceptions of power and security

The spirited discussion in feminist literature of "national security" draws its inspiration from the debate in peace studies and dependency literature over peace, war, and violence. The dependista formulation of "structural" violence(24) has profoundly influenced the feminist claim that special, gender-specific states of insecurity exist even - or especially? - in states that are "secure" by realist standards.

A forceful treatment of this theme is Peterson's.(25) Recapping some statistics of female victimization the world over, Peterson presents the now familiar motif of a global, male-initiated "war against women." However "secure" it might be in the international sphere, the state is complicit in the global phenomenon of violence against women, acting directly "through its selective sanctioning of non-state violence" and indirectly "through its promotion of masculinist, heterosexist, and classist ideologies." In the face of women's "systemic insecurity," Peterson contends that "'national security' is particularly and profoundly contradictory for women." She adds:

"Radically rethinking security" is one consequence of taking feminism seriously: this entails asking what security can mean in the context of interlocking systems of hierarchy and domination and how gendered identities and ideologies (re)produce these structural insecurities.(26)
And Tickner notes that "thinking of security in multidimensional terms allows us to get away from [realists'] prioritizing [of] military issues, issues that have been central to the agenda of traditional international relations but that are the furthest removed from women's experiences."(27)

If the idea of national security is compromised by the unjust structures it acts to buttress, so too is the entire range of classical conceptions of power. When feminists analyze these conceptions, their argument generally takes one of two forms. They may seek to illuminate the power relationships that standard commentary has overlooked; or they may propose a radical redefinition of what actually constitutes "power."

The former approach is straightforward. With its close link to the binary demarcation of public and private spheres that feminists have long assailed, it represents one of the more intuitively valid feminist assertions. The argument runs as follows: a focus on power exchanges among unitary states, or among elite men in the public sphere, misses a wide range of power relationships that discriminate against women. But while classical theories have devoted extensive attention to power, and downplayed the role of ideological or cultural factors,

they have under-estimated the amount and varieties of power at work. It has taken power to deprive women of land titles and leave them little choice but to sexually service soldiers and banana workers. It has taken power to keep women out of their countries' diplomatic corps [415] and out of the upper reaches of the World Bank. It has taken power to keep questions of inequity between local men and women off the agendas of many nationalist movements in industrialized as well as agrarian societies. It has taken power to construct popular culture - films, advertisements, books, fairs, fashion - which reinforces, not subverts, global hierarchies.(28)
Interestingly, this framework has also been used to examine power relations among women themselves. Some attention has been devoted to women who hold gender-structured positions of power - for example, as employers of domestic servants.(29) Feminists have pointed out the "very real power relations that exist among women, which determine how much money and time women can contribute to movement politics (and movement theorizing)."(30) Opposition has been voiced to Western feminists' eagerness to address a plight that is not directly theirs: that of their "underprivileged" sisters in the Third World. These rifts and dissensions can only grow in the foreseeable future, as the surface ideological solidarities that tend to prevail early in the life of progressive movements are undercut by differences latent or emergent within them.

The second type of feminist project - the attempt to radically redefine power - is more complex, and to my mind a good deal more problematic. For one thing, the effort is more prescriptive than descriptive. It seeks to delineate how power should be viewed, rather than how power considerations (as ordinarily understood) apply in spheres where their operation has often gone unnoticed. The attempt to redefine power is usually associated with feminism's essentialist wing, which isolates supposed differences in the way women versus men employ power. Women are said to act in a "shared rather than assertive" manner.(31) Feminist attempts to "conceptualiz[e] power as mutual enablement rather than domination" seek to strip power of its coercive dimension, as a means of "feminizing" both the domestic and international environment. This is the distinction drawn by Marilyn French (Beyond Power), who argued for a separation of "power-over" from "power-to." In Rosemarie Tong's summary, "Whereas power-to is constructive, power-over is destructive. Power-to seeks to create and to further pleasure for everyone; power-over seeks to destroy and spread pain."(32)

Feminism and realism: some concluding comments

I do not wish to suggest that all feminists view realism and a feminist approach to IR as utterly incompatible. One element of the ongoing debate between liberal feminists and their post-positivist counterparts is the occasional recognition that, as [416] with other "patriarchal" paradigms or institutions, realism may not be so deeply compromised as to require jettisoning.

In her appraisal of Hans J. Morgenthau, for instance, Tickner criticizes realism as only "a partial description of international politics," owing to its deeply embedded masculinist bias.(33) But partial descriptions are partial descriptions; they are not dead wrong. Tickner attacks Morgenthau's paradigm on several grounds. But her main concern is to offer a "feminist reformulation" of certain realist principles. In a similar vein, the central problem may not be with objectivity as such, but with objectivity "as it is culturally defined ... [and] associated with masculinity." The idea of the "national interest" likewise needs to be rendered more "multidimensional and contextually contingent," but not necessarily abandoned. Tickner stresses: "I am not denying the validity of Morgenthau's work,"(34) just as Kathy Ferguson emphasizes the importance of "negotiat[ing] respectfully with contentious others."(35)

A similar approach is evident in Cynthia Enloe's Bananas, Beaches and Bases, perhaps the best-known work of feminist IR criticism. Enloe attempts to supplement the classical framework by considering women's contributions and experiences. But she does not devalue or reject the framework as such. Thus, Enloe looks at international diplomacy, geostrategic military alliances (as symbolized by military bases), international tourism, and First World - Third World economic relations. The first two are hallmark concerns of the classical paradigm. The third and fourth derive from neo-Marxist and IPE theories. In each case, Enloe presents innovative avenues of inquiry, and an intriguing reworking of perspectives that have grown stale. Her study of international diplomacy, for example, concentrates on the role of diplomatic wives in structuring the "informal relationships" that enable male diplomats "to accomplish their political tasks."(36) Women, she argues, are "vital to creating and maintaining trust between men in a hostile world";(37) "negotiations 'man-to-man' are most likely to go smoothly if they can take place outside official settings, in the 'private' sphere of the home or at gatherings that include wives."(38) But Enloe does not seem to be proposing a revision of what constitutes "the business of international politics," however critical she may be of the way this business operates, or of the (underacknowledged) supporting roles women play in the business.

Scholars have always mined the past for insights and guidance. There is a curiosity, a generosity of spirit, in much feminist writing that may facilitate a provisional modus vivendi, though hardly an alliance, between realist and feminist scholarship. This would demand of the classical tradition that it acknowledge and correct its blank spaces and biased formulations. Feminism, meanwhile, could glean from realism some sharp insights into the limited but significant veins of international politics that the classical tradition has long mines, and not without success.

[417] Rather less of a cause for optimism is the hollow claim by some feminist IR scholars that they are constructing a radically new theorizing of international relations, and a research agenda to guide the project. In my view, it is the post-positivist line of analysis that exhibits the widest disparity between stated ambition and substantive contribution. Given this strand's recent prominence, it is worth considering the claims of one of its major exponents in some detail.

Christine Sylvester's 1994 work Feminist Theory and International Relations in a Postmodern Era angrily rejects the notion that feminist theory ought to be playing essentially a supplementary role. Criticizing Robert Keohane for proposing something along these lines, Sylvester writes:

Explicit in this analysis is yet another support assignment for "women." We who are feminists in the academy are urged to come out of our vague and homeless positions in IR in order to provide something that the mainsteam [sic] needs and cannot think through and provide using its own powers of reflection ... There is, in this admonition, little sense that feminists can set an agenda for ourselves and for IR and really no sense that we may want to interface differently and rewrite-repaint-recook the field rather than join it.(39)
But the specifics of the "re-visioning," in Sylvester's formulation, seem meagre. "It would be refreshing to see a recreation of the Cuban Missile Crisis from the situated standpoint of John McCone's wife," Sylvester writes, because she "experienced, and perhaps even influenced, the first round of the bureaucratic politics game."(40) This is the sole concrete example of a feminist-influenced research agenda that Sylvester advances in a chapter-long discussion of the "second debate" in IR theory. Perhaps such an inquiry would be refreshing, but there is frankly little to indicate that it would be revelatory. And there is no evidence so far that investigations of this type could lead to a radically new theorizing of IR. One would expect, instead, more in the way of historical footnotes. Sylvester's more detailed attempts to "move beyond analysis by metaphor" and "repaint the canvases of IR" similarly bog down in movements, settings, and phenomena - the Greenham Common women and Zimbabwean agricultural cooperatives - which strike this writer as marginal, if that word still retains its pejorative connotations.(41)

War, peace and feminism

It is easy to see why the problem of peace and war has preoccupied so many feminist critics of international relations. For one thing, this is the main concern of classical IR theory. Feminist critiques of Realism, particularly Realist approaches to the exercise of power and the bolstering of national security, naturally must attend to the classical tradition's conceptualizations of conflict and prescriptions for peace.

Second, key strands of feminism draw on neo-Marxist approaches in manifesting a strong concern with social justice and human emancipation. Marxists have traditionally given primacy to justice over peace: they defend the right of subjugated [418] populations to effect social change, by violent means if necessary. But peace is doubly problematic for feminist approaches. It brings into play a diversity of debates over the centrality of gender, in particular the link between masculinity and militarism.

Can women, or at least "femininity," be equated with pacifism? Is this equation a conceptual or merely a historical one? Put another way: can one establish "a straightforward equation in which women equal peace and men equal war"?(42) Or does women's traditional removal from the military sphere merely reflect their historical subjugation and consignment to the private sphere? If women equal peace and men war, then we are again looking at a project to feminize the political. But if these associations are more constructed than innate, then the dichotomy (man-as-militarist, woman-as-care-giver) simply reflects stereotypical patterning of the kind that has always inhibited the expression of women's full potential and personality.

The most common motif in feminist analyses of peace and war depicts masculinity as a transcendentally aggressive force in society and history. Women are bystanders or victims of men's wars. Most feminist commentary, through to the 1980s, followed this framework. In particular, the extraordinary outburst of concern over the nuclear threat in the 1970s and early '80s resulted in a spate of feminist writings explicitly or implicitly founded on a critique of masculinist militarism. The zenith of this genre came with the 1984 publication of Dr Helen Caldicott's Missile Envy, which denounced the arms race in pop-Freudian terms.(43) The underlying philosophy is well exemplified by Barbara Zanotti's 1982 "Patriarchy: A State of War." Zanotti asked:

Why weren't we prepared for this? - the imminence of nuclear holocaust; the final silencing of life; the brutal extinction of the planet ... We have lived with violence so long. We have lived under the rule of the fathers so long. Violence and patriarchy: mirror images. An ethic of destruction as normative. Diminished love of life, a numbing to real events as the final consequence. We are not even prepared ... Wars are nothing short of rituals of organized killing presided over by men deemed "the best." The fact is - they are. They have absorbed in the most complete way the violent character of their own ethos.
Women, in this conception, are uniquely able to perceive the scale of masculine folly. They are likewise well positioned to offer a set of distinctively feminine values to halt the slide towards war:
Women know and feel the lies that maintain nuclear technology because we have been lied to before. We are the victims of patriarchal lies ... To end the state of war, to halt the momentum toward death, passion for life must flourish. Women are the bearers of lifeloving energy. Ours is the task of deepening that passion for life and separating from all that threatens life, all that diminishes life; becoming who we are as women.(44)
[419] This standard essentialist formulation was roundly challenged in 1987 with the publication of Jean Betake Elshtain's Women and War. Elshtain's treatise - part autobiography, part revisionist cultural history, party feminist self-critique - appears decisively to have recast the terms of debate among feminist analysts of peace and war.

Examining the traditional image of women and war, Elshtain declared: "There are sanctimonies to deconstruct, amnesia to life, stories to remember."(45) Among these, she cited the inconvenient fact that pacifist women "are greatly outnumbered by the majority of their gender who do not enter into pacifist construals as a chosen identification; indeed women in overwhelming numbers have supported their state's wars in the modern West."(46) Elshtain's paradigmatic instance of female complicity in "men's wars" is the outbreak of World War I, when the powerful suffragist movement in Britain and North America rushed to throw its weight behind the Allied war effort - roaming the streets distributing white feathers, symbols of cowardice, to young men out of uniform.(47) In a later work, Elshtain points to "hundreds of hair-raising tales of bellicose mothers, wives, and girlfriends writing the combat soldier and requesting the sacrifice of the enemy as a tribute, or gift, to her."(48)

Elshtain's contention is that women and men alike have been constructed to play roles in war: the Just Warrior versus the Beautiful Soul. She finds many of these ancient stereotypes deeply embedded in modern feminist discourse. To counter the trend, she offers a set of analytic devices useful in "investigating whether Beautiful Soul constructions are being shored up or displaced":

(1) Does the author define all women in opposition to all men? (2) Do the author's rhetorical choices invite self-congratulatory responses and lend themselves to sentimentalist reactions? (3) Does the author open or foreclose space for debate and disagreement? ... (4) Does the author compel us to think in the absence of certainty or ensure certainty at the cost of critical reflection? (5) Do the author's formulations reassure, soothe, bring relief to, reinforce, reaffirm; or do they disturb, unsettle, take apart, make ambiguous? (6) Is the author's voice didactic, ironic, moralistic?(49)
Elshtain's work has encouraged the advent of a more self-critical, sceptical stance in feminist analyses of peace and war. In particular, feminist commentary of the last few years seems more preoccupied than previously with the archetypes Elshtain isolates. Feminists increasingly have sought to ensure that these stereotypes are not subtly manifested in their own thinking and writing. Thus Burguieres, in her overview of "Feminist Approaches to Peace," finds some feminist analyses contaminated by "assertions ... unsubstantiated by history or thoughtful analysis."(50) Her solution is not to abandon the search for a feminist conceptualization of peace and war. Indeed, she adheres to the notion that the "much deeper roots" of militarism reside "in gender relations."(51) But she rejects "assertions such as 'patriarchies are based on militarism' or 'women are peaceful, men violent.'" Her vision of a feminist peace [420] project emphasizes the responsibility both men and women have to restrain the drive to war: "Women have no superior moral claim to being bearers of peace."(52)

The evolution of feminist perspectives on peace and war - and one does sense a cumulation, a gradual increase in the sensitivity and sophistication of the analysis - parallels the growth of feminism as a social movement. I have stressed at various points how inextricable is feminism's women-oriented "standpoint" from its wider normative-social project. A reflexive response, when one's contributions are systematically suppressed, is to proclaim not just the value but the superiority of one's orientation and actions. If disempowerment can give rise to moral hubris of this type, then the transformation in feminist thinking on peace and war may likewise reflect the increased power of women worldwide, and the new prominence of feminist formulations in academic and public debate. A more stable podium, it appears, encourages a more nuanced and ironic analysis.

Towards an international politics of gender

I have suggested that the most important, and surely a lasting, contribution of feminist critiques has been to add a gender dimension to analyses of international relations. Few scholars will be able, in future, to analyze international divisions of labour, or peace movements, or (pace Enloe) the activities of international diplomats, without attending to feminist perspectives on all these phenomena.

But feminists' success in exploring the gender variable remains, at this point, mixed. And until feminist frameworks are expanded and to some extent reworked, it is hard to see how a persuasive theory or account of the gendering of international relations can be constructed.

Feminist attempts to incorporate a gender variable into IR analysis are constrained by the basic feminist methodology and all feminists' normative commitments. A genuinely "feminist approach" by definition "must take women's lives as the epistemological starting point."(53) And a defining element of feminist approaches, as noted earlier, is a social project aimed at ameliorating women's structured lack of privilege and emancipating them as a gender-class.

The result is a de facto equating of gender primarily with females/femininity. It is, in its way, a new logocentrism, whereby (elite) male actions and (hegemonic) masculinity are drawn into the narrative mainly as independent variables explaining [421] "gender" oppression. Even those works that have adopted the most inclusive approach to gender, such as Peterson and Runyan's Global Gender Issues, betray this leaning. Peterson and Runyan do acknowledge that "our attention to gender ... tends to underplay the considerable differences among men and among women," and note that "it is not only females but males as well who suffer from rigid gender roles."(54) For the most part in their analysis, though, "gender issues" are presented as coequal with women's issues. The plight of embodied women is front and centre throughout, while the attention paid to the male/masculine realm amounts to little more than lip-service.

Very occasionally, one comes across a work - I think of Elshtain's Women and War - that explores the ambiguities of gender construction, and the diversity of women and men's lived experiences, in a balanced manner. But work that is more easily slotted into the category of IR critique tends to display a disconcerting fuzziness when it comes to analyzing the life situation of women and men alike.

Take Enloe's Bananas, Beaches and Bases, which is more adept than most at examining the impact of gender on embodied women and men. Enloe points to the "differences in the politics of masculinity between countries - and between ethnic groups in the same country."(55) Later, she argues:

Frequently the reason behind government officials - usually men - trying to control women has been their need to optimize the control of men: men as migrant workers, soldiers, diplomats, intelligence operatives, overseas plantation and factory managers, men as bankers.(56)
All but the first two of these categories, however, refer to patterns of gender that favour some men by guiding them into positions of material and political privilege - positions that by their nature exclude the vast majority of men, with whatever versions of constructed masculinity they bear. (Even Enloe's category of "soldier" is ambiguous, given military hierarchy.) Thus, as in most feminist commentary, "the politics of masculinity" for Enloe centres on how male privilege is established and how it is used to perpetuate the subordination of women. Attention to the large mass of ordinary men in international society is not absent in Enloe's work (as it is in most feminist writing); but it seems disconcertingly permeated by the male-as-power-broker stereotype.

For further evidence of this failing, take Enloe's depiction of the role of women in providing mistress-style support for male plantation workers in Central America:

having young male workers without wives and children has an advantage: the men are in their physical prime, they are likely to view life as an adventure and be willing to tolerate harsh working and living conditions.(57)
No evidence is offered as to how many males working sixteen-hour shifts in the cane fields actually "view life as an adventure," nor about what structural conditions might induce them to "tolerate [their] harsh working and living conditions." Elsewhere, Enloe discusses a horrific fire at a dormitory for women seamsters in Korea, and comments: "[Korea's] making it as a 'world class' player has come with a [422] gendered price tag."(58) The implication is that the gendering of the international division of labour forces women disproportionately to shoulder the burden of physical risk and unsafe working conditions. No evidence is presented that this is the case. Dependable statistics might be difficult to find, but it is at least possible that the First World pattern of overwhelming male victimization in this area is transferred, no doubt in more muted form, to the developing world.(59)

A methodology predicated on illuminating women's experiences is useful, and it may be justified in isolation if this redresses a traditional focus on the role of men. But I think it is fair to say that the gender dimension of many of these phenomena, and others sketched below, has never received systematic attention in the literature of IR or, for that matter, comparative politics. There would seem to be grounds for a more far-reaching application of core feminist methodologies, one that would isolate the gender variable but not leap so readily to the tacit equation of gender issues with women's issues.

To buttress these contentions, consider Mary Ann Tetrault's analysis of the "private" sphere, which I have suggested may deserve consideration as a new "level of analysis" for IR theorists. Tetrault writes that "the bourgeois family also contributed to personal autonomy for men." How the standard pattern of subordinate wage-labour for all but a narrow elite of Western males might promote "autonomy" for an entire gender is not explained. She adds: "the pattern of increased male autonomy and independence from family obligations continues," as though wage-labour, ordinarily aimed at earning a wage to support a family, constituted "independence from family obligations." Finally, "the burdens of failure are carried primarily by the family, and often disproportionately by the mother." How often? Disproportionately often? The answer is quite possibly yes, but Tetrault's claims are only asserted, never effectively argued.(60) (In a similar vein, note Tickner's comment that "women have entered the military primarily in the lower ranks," meant to point out the extent to which the upper realms remain masculinized. But how else does one enter the military, except at the lower levels?(61))

The question of personal security as an integral component of "national" security also appears to deserve much more balanced evaluation. Tickner's call for "attention ... to gender issues [and] to women's particular needs with respect to security"(62) resurrects the too-typical equation of gender issues with women's particular needs. How particular are those needs? The question is evaded in Tickner's formulation:

Feminists call attention to the particular vulnerabilities of women within states, vulnerabilities that grow out of hierarchical gender relations that are also interrelated with international politics ... In militarized societies women are particularly vulnerable to rape, and evidence suggests that domestic violence is higher in military families or in families that include men with prior military service. Even though most public violence is committed by men against other men, it is more often women who feel threatened in public places.(63)
The phrase "particular vulnerabilities" suggests not just an analytically separable category, but a disproportionate degree of vulnerability. This is then conflated with perceived vulnerability ("women ... feel threatened" - even though men are more often the real-life victims of public violence). Tickner's strategy explicitly subordinates the patterns of actual vulnerability, which arguably would be more important in arriving at a normatively grounded reading of gendered security.

The self-imposed limitations on most feminist IR discourse are apparent, too, in Christine Sylvester's assertion that "states and their regimes connect with people called women only to ensure, tacitly at least, that the benefits of regime participation will flow from 'women' to 'men' and not ever the other way round."(64) This is an image of hegemonic gender-class that is impervious to nuance or paradox. It is a striking bit of absolutist phrasing from one of the field's leading post-positivist theorists, who elsewhere, rhetorically at least, emphasizes flexibility and empathy.(65) And it leads, or ought to lead, to some hard questions. If masculine privilege is so all-pervasive and absolute, we must ask (in a developed-world context at least) why it is that men live substantially shorter lives than women, kill themselves at rates vastly higher than women, absorb close to one hundred per cent of the fatal casualties of society's productive labour, and direct the majority of their violence against "their own" ranks. All these features appear to be anomalous if not unique in the history of ruling classes the world over. They surely deserve more sustained, non-dogmatic attention than Sylvester, along with every feminist theorist I have encountered, grants them.(66) "It is not valid and reliable," as Sylvester herself reminds us, "to build generalizable models ... on a partial base."(67) If the feminist approach to gendered "security" is to be taken seriously, as it deserves to be, these powerfully gendered phenomena deserve closer investigation than feminist commentary so far has been able or willing to provide.

As a contribution to the basic project called for here - that is, more balanced and fertile theories of the gender variable's operation in international relations - I conclude by suggesting a range of phenomena and issue areas that ought to be [424] explored. My suggestions are feminist-grounded in that they seek to apply a core feminist methodology - isolation of the gender dimension of an issue or phenomenon. But they move beyond presently existing feminist approaches by directing the analytical beam equally towards the gender that is, so far by definition, under-represented in feminist commentary.

By itself, this survey is no less partial than most feminist gender-mappings. But it is a necessary first step towards synthesis: a blending of gendered perspectives that will allow the gender variable and its operations to be examined in more multi-dimensional terms. There is, of course, no space here to enter into detailed discussion of each phenomenon and issue. I buttress certain points with case-studies and statistical data, but the sketch appeals as much to intuition and common sense.

This closing discussion builds itself around issue-areas and phenomena that could help generate real-world research agendas. I think the limited space available is best devoted to concrete matters, as opposed to more abstract investigations into the construction of gender, the continuum of gender identities, and so on. Attention to real-world issues allows the theorist of gender and IR to benefit from an important underpinning of feminist critiques: their normative concern for, and engagement with, the embodied subjects of the analysis. We need more narratives, more details, more case-studies that help humanize the research subjects and assist the reader in understanding how gender shapes their destinies, or their plight.

Let us begin by briefly recapping several themes and issue-areas that have been touched on only in passing. Few would deny (though relatively few feminist IR theorists have adequately explored) the manner in which military "service" is gender-structured. A number of issues related to war and military service warrant closer examination. Among them are: the issue and practice of conscription; prisoners of war; under-age troops; "civil defence patrols" in societies riven by civil war; mutiny and desertion; and post-battle trauma. Feminist writings on international relations to this point have devoted only limited and partial attention to the masculine gendering of these phenomena. This is inevitable so long as analysis is limited to "military and industrial practices that impoverish and/or endanger the lives of women and their families."(68) That may be enough for a narrowly feminist perspective; it is not sufficient for an overarching theorizing of gender.

Consider, in this context, the most recent book by Cynthia Enloe, The Morning After: Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War, which explores the militarization of masculinity with greater analytical range than any feminist IR commentary since Elshtain's Women and War. Enloe devotes a substantial section of her work to an examination of "The Gendered Gulf" - that is, the gender dimension of the Gulf War and its aftermath. She writes movingly of the plight of Asian female domestic servants in Kuwait during and after the war; of rape and other abuses of Kuwaiti women by Iraqi soldiers, and of US women soldiers by their own officers.

But there is a gender gulf in Enloe's reading of the gendered Gulf. Her normative commitment to unveiling "the conditions of women's lives"(69) ignores other aspects of the gendering process in the Gulf War that, by any strictly quantitative measure, far outweigh the female-grounded examples she settles on. Where, for example, is mention of arguably the most explicitly gender-selective policy decision of the entire [425] Gulf War? I refer to Saddam Hussein's decision on 28 August 1990 to release all women and children among those hostages seized on 17 August, together with selected men, while retaining "about 8,000 men ... hundreds [of them] in their 50's and 60's, and some ... ill." (So The New York times reported, under an unintentionally comic headline: "Who Can Leave Iraq? A Matter of Randomness and Ethnicity."(70))

Likewise, the real-world gendering of the refugee flow, one of the largest in history, that the Gulf War produced never impinges on Enloe's analysis. In many cases, migrant workers accounted for most of the exodus. Enloe is amply aware of the role of female migrant labour in Kuwait, the domestic servants from the Philippines and elsewhere. Is this the only, or the most significant, gendering of migrant labour in the Gulf, and the refugee flow that attached to it? One million Yemenis, 700,000 Egyptians, and 250,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from the region during the war, along with 350,000 Asians. Many of this last group were from Pakistan, where, in some impoverished regions, "two out of every three poor households ... has [sic] workers in the Middle East." These are exclusively male workers, as Shahid Burki's research makes clear.(71) Indeed, one would expect men to make up a majority or an overwhelming majority of the migrant workers who flocked to work in the Gulf's oil economy, regional construction industry, and professional infrastructure. But a fuller exploration of the migrant-refugee issue would not necessarily turn up information relevant to a feminist, like Enloe, whose primary preoccupation is with the experiences of embodied women rather than gendered women and men alike.(72)

The gendering of the large-scale atrocities committed by Saddam's forces in Kuwait also receives only selective attention in Enloe's work. She touches on the plight of Kuwaiti and foreign women abused by Iraqi troops, but the wider Iraqi process of detention, torture, execution, and forced removal (probably for execution) of tens of thousands of Kuwaitis - again, judging from human-rights and media [426] reports, virtually all male - is passed over. Likewise, the Iraqi regime's postwar assault against the Shia "marsh Arabs" in southern Iraq seems to have been highly gender-specific. "The troops are arresting all males over 15 and taking them to Radwaniyeh [prison camp]," according to a Middle East Watch researcher. "They're never seen again," and thousands are estimated to have died, often after horrific torture.(73)

We have noted that feminist explorations of the "private" sphere and "security" issues have prompted a concern with society-level issues of gendered violence and conflict. Certain types of violence, though, notably murder and suicide, deserve different gender-sensitive investigation. For example, in the country with by far the highest homicide rate in the world, Colombia, 88.2 per cent of victims are male. Patterns of murder and suicide elsewhere also appear to be disproportionately weighted against males.(74) The more amorphous issue of health and life expectancy might also be examined under this rubric. It would be central, for instance, to any understanding of the gendered social impact of political transition processes. Can any generalizations be drawn from the calamitous decline in male life expectancy in the former Soviet Union? Why has it occurred in the midst of political transformations that have ordinarily been viewed as disproportionately harming women?(75)

Patterns of political violence also need to be explored for the light they might shed on how "security" is gendered at the societal level. Preliminary investigation suggests that political violence by state agencies is predominantly, even overwhelmingly, [427] directed against males rather than females. To cite three examples from the author's own area of primary interest: a survey commissioned by the revolutionary Sandinista government after the 1979 revolution in Nicaragua found that 93.4 per cent of those killed in the insurrection were male, a "predominance ... [that] is impressive," according to Carlos Vilas.(76) Marysa Navarro's study of state terror in Argentina during the era of the Dirty War found that 70 per cent of those killed or "disappeared" were male.(77) A recent report on state terrorism (along with guerrilla and death-squad violence) in the Colombian banana-growing region of Urabá explicitly notes the combatants' readiness to "wage their escalating war by killing male civilians instead of each other." "[A]n estimated 677 men ... have been killed so far this year," mostly unarmed banana workers; "In this macho society, women are protected and only the men are murdered, leaving about a thousand widows in the region," according to Church estimates.(78)

Sub-categories of state violence would include: torture; gender-selective punitive action (for instance, the rounding up by state authorities of young males, deemed suspicious or potentially subversive as a group); and state violence against street children, in Brazil and elsewhere, along with the phenomenon of child and adult homelessness itself.(79) One wonders, for instance, whether Christine Sylvester would employ the metaphor of "homelessness" (as a desirable and "creative" post-positivist standpoint) quite so readily, were the real-life phenomenon gendered to the comparative detriment of women. "Homelessness of all types is frightening to contemplate from a perspective of privilege" - indeed.(80)

It is possible that incarceration and imprisonment should also be examined as sub-components of state violence. Intuition and casual observation suggest that the vast majority of the world's incarcerated are male. This is a reality that I, for one, have found difficult to reconcile with the radical-feminist interpretation of legal systems as instruments of "male" hegemony, unless the fissures in patriarchy are made central to our understanding of it and our normative engagement with it. As with military conscription, one would need to be attuned to the societal "ripple [428] effects" of prolonged incarceration, and to the epidemic of sexual violence against males that often seems to accompany it.(81) [Link to the award-winning Stop Prisoner Rape Website.]

Attention could usefully be devoted to another subset of political violence: inter-tribal and inter-ethnic conflict, the explicitly violent component of which often seems to break down along gender lines. The systematic mass rape, mostly of Bosnian and Croatian women, in the Balkans war has become a feminist cause célèbre(82) (it is explored in detail in Enloe's The Morning After); but this is only the most fragmentary reading of the gendering of this conflict - a deficiency I have explored, and sought to redress, in detail elsewhere.(83) [Link to the full text of Gender and Ethnic Conflict in ex-Yugoslavia.] For another instance of the normally overlooked gendering of ethnic violence, take the report by Indian feminist Madhu Kishwar on the 1984 anti-Sikh rioting in New Delhi following the assassination of Indira Gandhi:

The nature of the attacks confirm [sic] that there was a deliberate plan to kill as many Sikh men as possible, hence nothing was left to chance. That also explains why in almost all cases, after hitting or stabbing, the victims were doused with kerosene or petrol and burnt, so as to leave no possibility of their surviving. Between October 31 and November 4, more than 2,500 men were murdered in different parts of Delhi, according to several careful unofficial estimates. There have been very few cases of women being killed except when they got trapped in houses which were set on fire. Almost all the women interviewed described how men and young boys were special targets. They were dragged out of the houses, attacked with stones and rods, and set on fire ... When women tried to protect the men of their families, they were given a few blows and were forcibly separated from the men. Even when they clung to the men, trying to save them, they were hardly ever attacked the way men were. I have not yet heard of a case of a woman being assaulted and then burnt to death by the mob.(84)
This, one of the bloodiest gender-specific and gender-selective massacres in our century, has passed unnoticed in feminist narratives of societal security, to my knowledge.

Finally, in the sphere of international political economy, one might examine more closely the gendering of child labour and child slavery; the operations of the informal or black market, along with the international traffic in narcotics; and in particular the range of physical hazards associated with labour in both productive and reproductive spheres. As mentioned earlier, patterns of international migratory labour also seem to be highly gender-structured - but only the female component has received sustained gender-sensitive analysis.

[429] It could be argued that the above list, tentative and scattered as it is, needlessly draws in phenomena that have no obvious relationship to international relations. But surely the contributions of feminists and other critics of the classical paradigm render us more cautious of drawing neat distinctions between, say, the security one has or feels in daily life and the "security" or "stability" of the state or the international "order." A rigid division of analytical levels may be useful or necessary in the context of a given project, but it can also mask important commonalities and connections.

I have tried here to shed some light on subjects, patterns, and issue-areas that have "fallen through the gaps" of feminist IR analysis. I hope the contribution, though preliminary, is constructive. It reflects my conviction that, regardless of whether the gender variable, even inclusively approached, "make[s] the world go round," its potential explanatory power is considerable. Feminist readings of IR, with their wealth of new perspectives and analytical insights, have laid an indispensable foundation for future evaluations of the gender variable. Foundational or not, though, these same critiques are far from constituting an adequate account or even an inclusive framing of gender and IR. The wider task - theorizing and narrating the international politics of gender - remains.

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1. I follow Holsti's use of the term "classical tradition" to refer to the broad Realist and neo-Realist paradigm: Holsti, The Dividing Discipline: Hegemony and Diversity in International Theory (Winchester, MA, 1987).

2. R.B.J. Walker, "Gender and Critique in the Theory of International Relations," in V. Spike Peterson (ed.), Gendered States: Feminist (Re)Visions of International Relations Theory (Boulder, CO, & London, 1992), p. 179).

3. Ibid., p. 196.

4. I use the term "post-positivist" to encompass a wide variety of theories that have in common an emphasis on the social construction of knowledge, history, gender. By these lights, "all knowledge is socially constructed and is grounded in the time, place, and social context of the investigator," as J. Ann Tickner writes in Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security (New York, 1992), p. 21.

5. V. Spike Peterson, "Introduction," in Peterson (ed.), Gendered States, p. 9.

6. Hence the quotation marks around "gender" in the title of this essay, which is drawn from the heading to ch. 1 of Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (London, 1989). On a personal note, readers of an earlier version of this article faulted me for failing to situate myself properly in the discussion. Let me first situate myself as someone who does not fully share the current obsession with self-situation. I am disturbed by assertions that one can look little further than the tip of one's gender, race, class, or sexual orientation and, indeed, that it is politically suspect and invasive to seek to do so. Beyond this, I have found that the demand to divulge "where I'm coming from" in analyzing feminist critiques often amounts to a test of loyalty-by-group-affiliation. This holds little appeal for someone who belongs to most of the "wrong" groups (male, white, western, etc.). It also goes against the grain of my left-individualist political leanings. Philosophically, if I am suspicious of perceived excesses in "relational" thinking, my lifelong affection for social anarchism (of the Giovanni Baldelli variety) does render me susceptible to the charms of post-positivist playfulness, insolence and rebelliousness.

7. Virginia Sapiro, "Gender Politics, Gendered Politics: The State of the Field," in William Crotty (ed.), Political Science: Looking to the Future, vol. 1: The Theory and Practice of Political Science (Evanston, IL, 1991), p. 166.

8. Sara Ruddick, Maternal Thinking: Toward A Politics of Peace (Boston, MA, 1989), p. 235.

9. Walker, "Gender and Critique," p. 192.

10. Tickner, Gender in Intenrational Relations, pp. 4, 17.

11. Peterson, "Introduction," p. 7.

12. In this vein, see V. Spike Peterson, "Transgressing Boundaries: Theories of Knowledge, Gender and International Relations," Millennium, 21: 2 (1992). "What critiques of positivism require is a shift from oppositional to relational thinking. This insight is obscured by binary logic that precludes the possibility of understanding a critique of 'A' as entailing anything other than 'not-A.' ... [In fact,] contrasting but non-oppositional terms may be related along multiple dimensions and their non-binary structure permits more than two possibilities" (p. 188).

13. By "normative engagement" I mean realism's traditional concern with the problem of peace and war.

14. Tickner, Gender in International Relations, p. 42.

15. Ibid.

16. Catharine A. MacKinnon, Toward A Feminist Theory of the State (Cambridge, MA, 1989), p. 163. Note the strong echoes of post-positivist feminism's rejection of empiricism/objectivity, given a feminist tinge through definition of "this epistemological stance" as male at its roots. Radical feminism and post-positivist feminism regularly overlap in this manner.

17. Ibid., p. 170.

18. See, e.g., Mona Harrington, "What Exactly Is Wrong with the Liberal State as an Agent of Change?," in Peterson (ed.), Gendered States.

19. V. Spike Peterson and Anne Sisson Runyan, Global Gender Issues (Boulder, CO, 1993), p. 32.

20. A good example is Enloe's Bananas, Beaches and Bases.

21. Tickner, Gender in International Relations, p. 91.

22. Jean Betake Elshtain, Women and War (New York, 1987), p. 91.

23. Peterson, "Introduction," p. 14.

24. "Structural violence" is defined by Tickner as "the economic insecurity of individuals whose life expectancy was reduced, not by the direct violence of war but by domestic and international structures of political and economic oppression." Tickner, Gender in International Relations, p. 69.

25. V. Spike Peterson, "Security and Sovereign States: What is at Stake in Taking Feminism Seriously?," in Peterson (ed.), Gendered States, pp. 31-64.

26. Ibid., p. 32.

27. Tickner, Gender in International Relations, p. 23.

28. Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases, pp. 197-8.

29. Ibid., p. 194.

30. Anne Sisson Runyan and V. Spike Peterson, "The Radical Future of Realism: Feminist Subversions of IR Theory," Alternatives, 16: 1 (1991), p. 85, paraphrasing Wilmette Brown.

31. Tickner, Gender in International Relations, p. 65, citing the work of David McClelland.

32. Rosemarie Tong, Feminist Thought: A Comprehensive Introduction (Boulder, CO, & San Francisco, 1989), p. 101. See also Peterson and Runyan, Global Gender Issues, pp. 79-80. It could be argued, of course, that a similar emphasis on "enabling" rather than "dominating" power strategies is a hallmark of institutional liberals like Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. See their Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition (Boston, MA, 1977).

33. J. Ann Tickner, "Hans Morgenthau's Principles of Political Realism: A Feminist Reformulation," Millennium 17: 3 (1988), p. 431. Tickner's piece and other articles from this special issue of Millennium were subsequently published in book form: Rebecca Grant and Kathleen Newland (eds.), Gender and International Relations (Buckingham, 1991). They first came to my attention as journal articles, however, and I have referenced them accordingly.

34. Ibid., pp. 437 (emphasis added), 438.

35. Ferguson, quoted in Sylvester, Feminist Theory, p. 3.

36. Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases, p. 98.

37. Ibid., p. 123.

38. Ibid., p. 114.

39. Sylvester, Feminist Theory, p. 134; see also Robert Keohane, "International Relations Theory: Contributions of a Feminist Standpoint," Millennium, 18: 2 (1989), pp. 245-54.

40. Sylvester, Feminist Theory, p. 121.

41. Ibid., pp. 167, 209. The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines "marginal" land as "difficult to cultivate and yielding little profit."

42. Mary K. Burguieres, "Feminist Approaches to Peace: Another Step for Peace Studies," Millennium, 19: 1 (1990), p. 1.

43. Helen Caldicott, Missile Envy: The Arms Race and Nuclear War (New York, 1985), especially the penultimate chapter, "Etiology: Missile Envy and Other Psychopathology." On the link between masculinism and nuclear militarism, see also Carol Cohn, "Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defence Intellectuals," Signs, 12: 4 (1987).

44. Both passages cited in Elshtain, Women and War, pp. 147-8 (emphasis added). On the link between masculinism and militarism, see also Diana E.H. Russell's revealingly titled article, "The Nuclear Mentality: An outgrowth of the Masculine Mentality," Atlantis, 12: 2 (Spring 1987). She writes (at p. 15): "the very real threat to everyone's survival posed by nuclear war is not what makes it a feminist issue. Nuclear war is a feminist issue because the threat of nuclear obliteration is a consequence of the distorted values, psyches, and institutions that sexist arrangements have bred ... We mut face the fact that at this point in history the nuclear mentality and masculine mentality are one and the same. To rid ourselves of one, we must rid ourselves of the other."

45. Elshtain, Women and War, p. 164.

46. Ibid., p. 140.

47. Ibid., pp. 111-16.

48. Jean Betake Elshtain, "Sovereignty, Identity, Sacrifice," in Peterson (ed.), Gendered States, p. 145.

49. Elshtain, Women and War, p. 145.

50. Burguieres, "Feminist Approaches," p. 15.

51. Ibid., p. 14.

52. Ibid., p. 8. One of the most sophisticated and extensive treatments of this theme is Sara Ruddick's Maternal Thinking (see n. 8 above). Ruddick joins Elshtain in believing that "War is exciting; women, like men, are prey to the excitements of violence and community sacrifice it promises" (p. 154). In a powerful passage, she writes: "A pure maternal peacefulness does not exist; what does exist is far more complicated: a deep unease with military endeavors not easily disentangled from patriotic and maternal impulses to applaud, connect, and heal; a history of caring labor interwoven with the romance of violence and the parochial self-righteousness on which militarism depends" (p. 156). The link between "mothering" and peace that she seeks to establish is contingent upon a non-gender-exclusive definition of the initial term in the equation (p. 40). This nimble move perhaps does not fully answer the most common concern of her critics, which she addresses at p. 43.

53. Rebecca Grant, "The Quagmire of Gender and International Security," in Peterson (ed.), Gendered States, p. 84. Emphasis in original. Cynthia Enloe also points out that "feminist start from the conditions of women's lives," in The Morning After: Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War (Berkeley, CA, 1993), p. 65.

54. Peterson and Runyan, Global Gender Issues, pp. 13, 21.

55. Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases, p. 13.

56. Ibid., p. 200.

57. Ibid., p. 137.

58. Ibid., p. 169.

59. In Canada between 1972 and 1981, men accounted for 97.4 per cent of deaths on the job (at a time when women constituted over 40 per cent of the full-time workforce); and men suffer nearly four times as many "time-loss injuries" as women. See Employment Injuries and Occupational Illnesses 1972-1981 (Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services, 1984), p. 10; Statistics Canada, Work Injuries 1986-1988, p. 13.

60. Tetrault in Peterson (ed.), Gendered States, p. 108. Peterson and Runyan likewise note that, as a result of the migration of US transnational corporations to maquiladora zones in Mexico, "Between 1979 and 1983, 35 percent of the workers who lost their jobs because of plant closings in the United States were women" (Global Gender Issues, p. 101). This means that 65 per cent, a substantial majority, were men, but this fact is present only by implication. It is never explored, nor offered as grounds for normative concern or protest. Elsewhere Peterson and Runyan point a finger at "men ... [who] are flooding into the informal economy, usurping some of the income generating activities women, particularly as heads of households, have traditionally turned to in an effort to feed themselves and their children" (p. 104). Would the authors view the massive movement worldwide in the other direction - that is, women moving into traditionally male-dominated occupational spheres - as a cause for worry, a "usurping" of "the income generating activities [men], particularly as heads of households, have traditionally turned to"?

61. Tickner, Gender in International Relations, p. 43.

62. Ibid., p. 53.

63. Ibid., p. 56.

64. Sylvester, Feminist Theory and International Relations, p. 179. Emphasis added.

65. Likewise, despite her postmodernist commitments, Sylvester readily draws upon high mechanistic and rationalist - "masculinist"? - images and metaphors. Hence her reference to "tools of self-evaluation"; "our toolboxes of knowledge at our sides, we keep up the effort to unravel the fences ..." Feminist Theory and International Relations, pp. 65, 168.

66. Sylvester's attempt to set masculine privilege against feminine underprivilege similarly leads her into a glaring logical fallacy: "[Alexander] George neglects to tell us that the decision maker is assumed unproblematically to be and, in fact, usually is a 'man,' which means that 'non-decision-makers' are unproblematically 'not-men'" (Feminist Theory and International Relations, p. 118, emphasis added). Of course, it means nothing of the sort, but it neatly elides the fact that most "men" are not "decision-makers."

67. Ibid., p. 119.

68. Peterson and Runyan, Global Gender Issues, p. 151 (emphasis added).

69. Enloe, Morning After, p. 65.

70. The New York Times, 22 October 1990, p. A10. Dilip Hiro also notes, again without apparent irony, that "It was only after Saddam Hussein had ... extended the [hostage] exemption to all women and children among the Western and Japanese hostages ... that the malign consequences of Iraq's action were considerably reduced." Hiro, Desert Shield to Desert Storm: The Second Gulf War (Hammersmith, 1992), p. 158. Most of the male hostages were held for another three months, until Saddam's decision on 6 December 1990 to release them.

71. Shahid Javed Burki, "International Migration: Implications for Labor Exporting Countries," The Middle East Journal, 38: 4 (Autumn 1984), p. 668. The overall refugee figures are drawn from Judith Miller, "Legacy of a Crisis: 5 Million Refugees," The Gazette (Montreal) (from The New York Times), 6 July 1991, p. B6. The examples I cite are those apparently related to migrant labour patterns, where one can expect an uneven gendering of refugee flow; the Kurdish influx to Turkey and Iran, on the other hand, would likely be differently gendered. Gender patterning among migrant communities also shifts according to whether or not dependants join the worker in the field, but one study found that Jordanian migrant workers, for example, were "male (over 95 per cent)" as of 1984. Charles B. Keely and Bassam Saket, "Jordanian Migrant Workers in the Arab Region: A Case Study of consequences for Labor Supplying Countries," The Middle East Journal, 38: 4 (Autumn 1984), p. 689.

72. In fairness, a fuller exploration of the larger issue of refugees would have to acknowledge that "the majority of all refugees worldwide - not just labour refugees - are women.  Interestingly, the majority of all refugee-claimants worldwide are men.  Men are more likely to come forward with refugee claims because they can more regularly 'demonstrate' persecution; that is, the types of persecution men face are easier to document within a legal discourse ... This is not to suggest that the persecutions faced by male refugee-claimants are in any way trivial or unimportant, but rather than it is equally important that legal systems often do not recognize, are unable to 'see,' the particular persecutions faced by women."  I am grateful for these comments by a reader of an earlier version of this article.

73. "Iraqis Slaughter Hundreds of Shiites at Camp, Exiles Say," Associated Press dispatch in The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 22 February 1994. The campaign against the southern Shias was, of course, only the continuation of a long-standing campaign, the most brutal manifestations of which came in the immediate aftermath of the Iraqi eviction from Kuwait: "Those [Shia civilians] who remained in the south were at the mercy of advancing government troops, who went through neighborhoods summarily executing hundreds of young men and rounding up thousands of others." Middle East Watch, Endless Torment: The 1991 Uprising in Iraq and Its Aftermath (New York, June 1992), pp. 31-2. The brutal suppression of rebellious Iraqi Kurds in 1988 similarly contained a blatant gender dimension. Middle East Watch reported instances of "men and boys among the captured villagers [who] were executed on the spot ... Virtually all of the remaining men and older boys disappeared at the hands of security agents; the whereabouts of many tens of thousands of Kurdish males who disappeared in the hands of Iraqi government forces is unknown," though the organization believes that "most, if not all, those who disappeared ... were murdered by Iraqi security forces." Middle East Watch/Physicians for Human Rights, The Anfal Campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan: The Destruction of Koreme (New York, Jan. 1993).

74. "Colombia violenta: 75 muertes diarias" [Violent Colombia: 75 Deaths Daily], El País (Cali), 18 July 1994. The World Health Organization apparently utilizes older figures which place Colombia further down the list, but which also explore the gendering of suicide. "Men in St. Lucia had the highest homicide rate worldwide, with 22.6 men killed for every 100,000 on the Caribbean island. Ecuador and Puerto Rico followed, with 21.8 men killed per 100,000. For women, the highest homicide rate was in the Seychelles islands, with 5.5 women slain per 100,000. Worldwide, the highest suicide rates were in Hungary, where men committed suicide at the rate of 48.4 per 100,000 and women at a rate of 14.6." WHO statistics quoted in "Injury Main Cause of Death Among Young, Report Says," Associated Press dispatch in The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 7 April 1993, p. A7.

75. On the decline in male life expectancy, see Geoffrey York, "Health Crisis Growing in Russia," The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 1 September 1994, p. A1. "A typical Russian man now can expect to die at 59, more than a decade earlier than men in Western countries. Just two years ago, male life expectancy was 62. The latest decline has plunged life expectancy in Russia to levels comparable to those in India and Egypt." Enloe's Morning After ably examines the Eastern European transformations in chs. 1 and 8, but men remain peripheral to the analysis. Hence, the Soviet army, guilty of staggering abuses against male conscript troops, is described as "an inhumane machine devouring the sons of mothers" (p. 13, emphasis added). It is the concerns and actions of the mothers that are the focus in this analysis of "sexual politics at the end of the Cold War."

76. Carlos M. Vilas, The Sandinista Revolution: National Liberation and Social Transformation in Central America (New York, 1986), p. 108. The survey was conducted to determine state compensation for victims' families.

77. Marysa Navarro, "The Personal Is Political," in Susan Eckstein (ed.), Power and Popular Protest: Latin American Social Movements (Berkeley, CA, & Los Angeles, 1989), pp. 245-6.

78. Ken Dermota, "Workers Caught in Clutches of Fatal Conflict," The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 21 September 1995. Emphasis added.

79. In the USA, up to 80 per cent of the homeless are males, mostly single men. This pattern might well be evident in other societies, particularly given the tendency to view males as more able to take care of themselves and thus more prone to be cast onto the street when family resources are scarce or non-existent. Peter Marin, "Why Are the Homeless Mainly Single Men?," The Nation, 8 July 1991.

80. Apart from this quoted statement in Feminist Theory and International Relations (p. 214), Sylvester's only concession to the real-life phenomenon is a reference (p. 61) to "the very real and painful condition of bag-lady homelessness, so common in the world's urban centers" (emphasis added); she provides a footnote directing readers to "a discussion of how 'women' become homeless in this way and how bag-ladies are perceived by others" (p. 231, n. 12).

81. The most prominent feminist legal theorist is Catharine MacKinnon; see her Towards A Feminist Theory of the State, esp. chs. 12-13. On sexual assault in prisons, see Stephen Donaldson, "The Rape Crisis Behind Bars," The New York Times, 29 December 1993, p. A13. Donaldson, who was gang-raped in prison in 1973, notes that "The catastrophic experience of sexual violence usually extends beyond a single incident, often becoming a daily assault. Psychologists and rape counsellors believe that the pent-up rage caused by these assaults can cause victims, especially if they don't receive psychological treatment, to erupt in violence once they return to their communities. Some will become rapists, seeking to 'regain their manhood' through the same violent means by which they believe it was lost." Donaldson makes "a conservative estimate" of 290,000 males "sexually assaulted behind bars every year [in the United States]. By comparison the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that there are 135,000 rapes of women a year nationwide, though many groups believe the number is higher."

82. 1998 Note: Several readers have criticized my use of the phrase cause célèbre to describe the rape crisis in Bosnia, feeling it trivializes the suffering of victims and the energies of the feminists who mobilized around the issue. I did not intend my terminology to be flip or dismissive. The paradigmatic cause célèbre is probably the Dreyfus case in France, and the controversy generated by Zola's j'accuse. To continue to refer to the case as a cause célèbre does not seem to me to suggest the case was not serious, or that Zola's intervention was not an important act of conscience and intellectual courage. These qualities did seem lacking, however, in the commentary of some feminists on the Bosnian rape issue - notably Catharine MacKinnon and Susan Brownmiller.

83. Adam Jones, "Gender and Ethnic Conflict in ex-Yugoslavia," Ethnic and Racial Studies, 17: 1 (1994), pp. 115-34. This article devotes extended attention to the gender-specific and gender-selective war experiences of women and men alike, including the mass rapes of Bosnian and Croatian women.

84. Madhu Kishwar, "Delhi: Gangster Rule," in Patwant Singh and Harji Malik (eds.), Punjab: The Fatal Miscalculation (New Delhi, 1985), pp. 171-8. My thanks to Hamish Telford for bringing this source to my attention. (1998 Note: there seems to be some question as to whether Kishwar actually claims the "feminist" label for herself; but I apply it to her regardless.)

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