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Pratt 2013 Gender Logics of Resistance

Pratt 2013 Gender Logics of Resistance

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This article was downloaded by: [University of Southampton Highfield]On: 23 January 2013, At: 12:45Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office:Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Third World Quarterly
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscriptioninformation:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ctwq20
The Gender Logics of Resistance to the ‘Waron Terror’: constructing sex–gender differencethrough the erasure of patriarchy in the MiddleEast
Nicola Pratt
To cite this article:
Nicola Pratt (2012): The Gender Logics of Resistance to the ‘War on Terror’: constructingsex–gender difference through the erasure of patriarchy in the Middle East, Third World Quarterly, 33:10,1821-1836
To link to this article:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2012.728318
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use:http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsThis article may be used f or research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantialor systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that thecontents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae, anddrug doses should be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liablefor any loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoevercaused arising directly or indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
 
The Gender Logics of Resistance tothe ‘War on Terror’: constructing sex– gender difference through the erasureof patriarchy in the Middle East
NICOLA PRATT
A
BSTRACT
This article asks, ‘How are femininities constructed in resisting the‘‘war on terror’’ and with what implications for women’s agency and theconceptualisation of gender?’ It examines the under-studied gender logics of non-violent resistance to the ‘war on terror’ by focusing on a series of con- ferences held in Cairo, between 2002 and 2008, uniting opposition toimperialism, Zionism, neoliberalism and dictatorship. Whereas much feministscholarship conceptualises sex–gender difference within patriarchy as the majorsource of women’s subordination, women speakers at the Cairo conferenceserased patriarchy as a source of subordination and valorised sex–genderdifference as a source of agency in resisting the ‘war on terror’. Femininitieswere constructed against the dominant narratives and practices of the war onterror through the representation of national/religious or class differences.These ‘resistance femininitiesrepresent strategically essentialised identitiesthat function to bridge differences and mobilise women against the ‘war onterror’.
Feminist scholars have highlighted how the so-called ‘war on terroris‘gender-ed’, as well as ‘race-ed’, ‘sex-ed’ and ‘class-ed’.
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This literatureillustrates how the war on terror has been constituted by and constitutive of constructions of ‘brown women’ in need of saving from ‘barbaric’ ‘brownmenby Western militaries, evocative of Gayatri Spivak’s description of colonialism as ‘white men saving brown women from brown men’.
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Suchtropes have been criticised for stereotyping Muslim women as ‘passive’ and‘oppressed’, Muslim men as ‘terrorists’ and Western governments andmilitaries as ‘enlightened’, thereby helping to naturalise and even toperpetuate the war on terror.
Nicola Pratt is in the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry,CV4 7AL, UK. Email: n.c.pratt@warwick.ac.uk.
Third World Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 10, 2012, pp 1821–1836
ISSN 0143-6597 print/ISSN 1360-2241 online/12/101821–16
Ó
2012
Southseries Inc.
, www.thirdworldquarterly.comhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2012.728318
1821
   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   S  o  u   t   h  a  m  p   t  o  n   H   i  g   h   f   i  e   l   d   ]  a   t   1   2  :   4   5   2   3   J  a  n  u  a  r  y   2   0   1   3
 
It is important to recognise that the war on terror (which constitutes anumber of different but interconnected processes, including military andintelligence measures, economic restructuring, and political and diplomaticalliances) not only has differential effects on different social groups (accord-ing to the configurations of intersecting gender, class, ethnicity, nationalityand other significant relations of power) but that groups
resist
these processesin ways that also have implications for gender and other relations of power,and, in turn, for wider political, socioeconomic and cultural processes.However, the subject of resistance to the war on terror has been under-studied.While some attention has been paid to the construction of militarisedmasculinity in violent resistance to the war on terror (sometimes depicted asmirroring the militarised masculinity of the US army and its military allies),
3
until now the theorising of non-violent resistance to the war on terror andhow it may be gender-ed, race-ed, class-ed and sex-ed has been almostneglected. Those scholars who have written about the gender-ed dimensionsof non-violent resistance to the ‘war on terror’ have focused on feminist or‘feminist-friendly’ resistance,
4
often highlighting the links between war,militarism and masculinity/‘patriarchy’.
5
Yet such an approach implicitlyassumes that patriarchy, capitalism, racism and militarism are mutuallyreinforcing, thereby rendering it unproblematic for women to resist all of these simultaneously.
6
This article examines how gender-ed identities, or particular femininities,are constituted by and constitutive of resistance to the war on terro’, focusingon the case of the Middle East. Towards this end, the article begins byattempting to theorise resistance in the context of international relations,highlighting the significance of (strategic) identity construction. Thefollowing sections examine the processes of constructing femininity in andthrough resistance to the war on terror at a series of conferences againstimperialism, Zionism, dictatorship and neoliberalism, held in Cairo between2002 and 2008. I find that women mobilise to resist different relations of domination based on imperialism, Zionism, neoliberalism and dictatorshipthrough the construction of national, religious or class differences. However,the gender logics of the war on terror shape the performance of a femininitythat valorises sex–gender difference as a source of agency (rather than asource of oppression). I argue that this notion of femininity is constructedstrategically to foreground the national, religious and class dimensions of power relations that underpin the war on terror, while erasing ‘patriarchy’/gender-based domination. This notion of femininity also enables the bridgingof class and ideological differences among women.This suggests wider implications for how we understand the constructionof gender-ed identities in international relations, the significance of gender inwomen’s activism and the relevancy of feminism in struggles against multipleand transnational relations of power. Rather than speaking of anti-feministblowback in the war on terror, it is perhaps more useful to problematise theconstruction of resistance femininities as the outcome of a dialecticalrelationship between, on the one hand, multiple relations of power at the
NICOLA PRATT
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   D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   S  o  u   t   h  a  m  p   t  o  n   H   i  g   h   f   i  e   l   d   ]  a   t   1   2  :   4   5   2   3   J  a  n  u  a  r  y   2   0   1   3

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