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1996 [Pheng. 96. seen as a tool or instrument of an intentional will rather than a locus of power and resistance . graduate student in English at Cornell University.Materialism Turn Feminism’s focus on gender as a social construction ignores the material conditions that separate each individuals lived experience Cheah. is coded as feminine [Grosz 5. This can lead to a biological-deterministic justification for the oppression of women particularly because the form/matter distinction originating from Greek philosophy is always articulated through a gendered matrix where the productive or creative agency of form is associated with a masculine principle while matter. Butler and Grosz are critical of this position for various reasons. Project Muse] As Grosz observes in her succinct account of Cartesianism. cultural. The second scenario leads either to a linguistic monism that cannot explain how the bodily materiality of sex can be produced by language/discourse or to the anthropomorphizing of "construction" into a nominative subject endowed with the power of self-causation and causing everything else. Project Muse] In the immediate instance. social constructionism espouses the primacy of the social or discourse as constructive form over preexisting matter which is said to be presignificative or nonintelligible. Review Essay: Mattering. In the first scenario. and political object. sex cannot be accounted for and political contestation is confined to the level of gender conceived as the interpretation or meaning [End Page 109] of sex. Diacritics 26. social constructionism can consider sex either as natural and thus unconstructed or as the fictional premise of a prediscursive ground produced by the concept of gender . social constructionism oscillates between two untenable positions. a mechanistic understanding of the body is harmful to feminist theory because it deprives women's bodies of agency by reducing the body to a passive object. Review Essay: Mattering. Butler. Diacritics 26. Thus. This effectively ignores the point that the body is a unique social. But while a teleological account of nature invests bodies with activity. This destroys women’s agency—relegating them to another form of masculine domination Cheah. this activity is always the predication of intelligible form. Butler suggests that "[w]e may seek a return to matter .1. which is passively shaped. ch. graduate student in English at Cornell University. 1]. 96. It also bears the mark of differences (sex and race) that are not easily revalued through consciousness-raising precisely because they are material differences which are not eradicable without disfiguring the body . In presupposing and so retroactively installing the category of "nature" in the prelinguistic position of a tabula rasa. Simply put. For Butler. Grosz points out that feminists concerned with the social construction of subjectivity recode the mind/body opposition as a distinction between biology and psychology and locate political transformation in psychological change where the body either is irrelevant or becomes the vehicle expressing changes in beliefs and values . 1996 [Pheng. Grosz's and Butler's return to the body can be understood as a reaction to the inadequacies of social constructionism as a paradigm for feminist theory.1.
either practical-causal or theoretical-contemplative. Thus. Butler and Grosz also question the pertinence of the oppositions between intelligible form and brute matter. One might further argue that despite the Cartesian sundering of intelligence from nature in the distinction between res cogitans and res extensa as ontologically different substances. between rational consciousness and objective exteriority. Cartesian and Greek ontology are continuous insofar as the form/matter and mind/matter distinctions are subtended by a common opposition between intelligent activity and brute passivity. culture/history and nature. In a mechanistic understanding of nature. .as prior to discourse to ground our claims about sexual difference only to discover that matter is fully sedimented with discourses on sex and sexuality that prefigure and constrain the uses to which the term can be put" . the form/matter distinction which was interior to bodies in Greek ontology becomes an external relation. by rethinking the body as something invested with a transformative dynamism or agency.
the concerns and debates in feminist theory that I have outlined seem far from the agenda of conventional IR. 27-28. . Renate Klein claims that the new focus on gender studies threatens to make women invisible again. this array of positions appears unsettling . MM] In a critique of trends in women’s studies in the 1990s. MM] In her assessment of the potential for finding a space in IR for feminist theory in the realist and liberal approaches of the interparadigm debate. Gendering World Politics. we must focus not only on difference. Ann. American University. Alt fails – collapses into generalizing (this card also takes out the aff) – could be a K aff card against the K Tickner. a lack of connection to the real lives of women endangers the political project of women’s emancipation . to incorporate gender. These positions have. national-security focus of realism might seem more promising.76 The liberal paradigm that has sought to enlarge concerns beyond the state-centric. however. Sandra Whitworth has suggested that. a discipline that has been concerned with cumulation and working toward a unified body of theory defined in terms of propositions that can be tested. been central to providing important insights and guidance for IR feminists as these scholars have constructed feminist critiques of the discipline and begun to develop feminist research programs. American University. (2) they must discuss historical variability. and (3) they must permit theorizing about power in ways that uncover hidden power relations. in terms of these three criteria. Klein suggests that while we need to listen to women from other cultures. many contemporary feminists are urging a sensitivity to difference and a respect for contextual knowledge that does not lose sight of the emancipatory goals to which various feminist approaches have been committed. p. Rosi Braidotti describes feminism not as a canonized body of theories but a widely divergent. feminist IR theorist and a distinguished scholar in residence at the School of International Services. amalgam of positions. 01 [J. sometimes contradictory. but on commonalities.Essentialism Turn Must be case-by case – essentializing the feminine diminishes potential for reform – their method is unquantifiable Tickner. This overview suggests a multiplicity of feminist approaches. Gendering World Politics. 01 [J.45 Agreeing with early critics of liberal feminism that the removal of legal barriers will not end women’s subordination.46 For IR. Ann. Whitworth claims that. there is little in realism that seems conducive to theorizing about gender . 20. theories must satisfy three criteria: (1) they must allow for the possibility of talking about the social construction of meaning. p. feminist IR theorist and a distinguished scholar in residence at the School of International Services. Indeed.
While they are generally committed to the emancipatory potential of theory. and power. IR feminists are often skeptical of empiricist methodologies. The association of women and peace with idealism in IR. for reasons mentioned above. With a preference for hermeneutic. humanistic. and produced by. at that time. which they claim has been based on knowledge about. Whitworth noted that the critical approach was. p. 59-60. MM] In a context of a male-dominated society. it is ahistorical and denies the material bases of conflict.however. 01 [J. American University. since critical theory is as much on the periphery as feminist analysis. rather than those based on the natural sciences. particularly gender structures of inequality. An example of the negative consequences of associating women with peace is Francis Fukuyama’s . they are suspicious of Enlightenment knowledge. Writing in 1989. feminist IR theorist and a distinguished scholar in residence at the School of International Services.77 Whitworth concludes by suggesting that critical theory is the most promising approach for feminist IR. women (as well as marginalized people more generally) are highly involved in world politics. Gendering World Politics. they do nothing to change existing gender relations. Turn – the K’s essentialization of the male as belligerent and the female as peaceful collapses into patriarchy – turns the K Tickner. in the United States at least. still quite underdeveloped. As Cynthia Enloe tells us. Although not all IR feminists would identify themselves as critical theorists. While critical theory has become more developed and recognized in IR since 1989. Ann. Introducing women and gender to the liberal paradigm would also encounter the same problems noted by critics of liberal feminism. men—a claim that seems particularly true of the discipline of international relations. which I have argued is a deeply gendered concept. but existing power structures. according to Whitworth. she also suggested that creating a space within critical theory would not launch gender analysis into the mainstream of IR. Attempts to “bring women into IR” feed into the mistaken assumption that they are not there in the first place . and it continues to render women’s voices as inauthentic in matters of foreign policymaking. this allows men to remain in control and continue to dominate the agenda of world politics. historically based. which can help to understand structures of domination. has rendered it less legitimate in the discourse of international relations. the association of men with war and women with peace also reinforces gender hierarchies and false dichotomies that contribute to the devaluation of both women and peace. and philosophical traditions of knowledge cumulation. inequality. institutionalized in the split between the public and private spheres and what counts as “important. Although peace movements that have relied on maternal images may have had some success. it remains on the margins. most would define themselves as postpositivists in terms of the characterization of positivism outlined above.” keep them from being heard.
82 . since areas outside the West will continue to be run by younger aggressive men. Fukuyama claims that only in the West is the realization of what he calls a “feminized” world likely.79 Besides its implications for reinforcing a disturbing North/South split. as bell hooks reminds us. black women are very likely to feel strongly that white women have been quite violent and militaristic in their support of racism . this argument is deeply conservative. Fukuyama claims that women are more peaceful than men—a fact that. particularly in the area of international politics. must remain in charge.81 Traditional concepts of masculinity and femininity that sustain war require an exercise of power: they are not inevitable.discussion of the biological roots of human aggression and its association with war. a world run by women would be a more peaceful world. There is little evidence to suggest that men are “naturally” aggressive and women are “naturally” peaceful. Therefore. he believes. given the dangers of an aggressive world. who can stand up to threats posed by dangers from outside. Western men.80 The leap from aggressive men to aggressive states is also problematic. However. women must be kept in their place and out of international politics. for the most part is biologically determined.
2008. Sexual dimorphism leads to eugenics and denies the personhood of intersexed individuals M. Ph. In the contemporary world. Human Rights Review. Morgan Holmes. that there are only two genders (i. man and woman) and that the root cause of women’s oppression is patriarchy. Tobin. Spector) It is possible. The struggle for social control may be one that women choose not to take up. 28. Foreign Affairs Volume 78. January/February. radical activists restrict women from abortion in the United States. has really been a Western rather than a global project.e. did so from the lives of particular women. No. Turn—Dimorphism IR feminists rely on dualistic notions of gender Theresa W. Wilfrid Laurier University. The concept of women’s rights as articulated in documents like the Beijing Platform reflect a particular understanding of gender and gender-based oppression. At the same time that the Taliban restricts women from kindergarten. that one response to greater female influence will be greater male belligerence and even violence against them. http://www. as these are manifested in Western liberal democracies. namely those living in communities of the global North such as the USA and Western Europe.metu. politically.. The charge is that the global feminist movement to re-conceptualize women’s rights from the lives of women. even if unlikely. Mind the Gaps: Intersex and (Re-productive) Spaces in Disability Studies and Bioethics. there is nowhere for women and children to go. SpringerOnline Database instrumental in redefining and promoting women’s human rights.Turn – Causes Violence Feminist control triggers violent male retaliation Tiger 99 – Professor of Anthropology @ Rutgers University. These particular interpretations of gender and gender-based oppression coupled with the tendency to focus on gender as the sole or primary axis of oppression for women around the world provides a moral lens that fails to capture accurately the nature of the moral violations and abuses many women suffer and thereby fails to recommend morally appropriate solutions. We receive daily bulletins about the bewilderingly lethal intransigence of male leaders committed to some program of desperate importance to them. 2003. Specifically. “The core of their critique is that the global feminist movement. 1. a situation in which men dominate women socially.D @ U of London (Lionel.“Fukuyama’s Follies” [“Prehistory Returns”].4 .tr/~utuba/Ehrenreich%20etal. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry.edu. Sociology & CAST-MA. 1999.pdf. the concept of women’s rights presupposes gender dualism. Marquette University Assistant Philosophy Professor. and economically.
social workers. and not to define it solely as a set of clinically grounded options but as a set of behaviours and attitudes that we can take toward a child. there are other. All gender ambiguous babies (i. perhaps better. gendered preferences and individual behaviour to interpersonal relations and general societal membership: To maximize individual well-being and societal stability. After all. it is worth remembering that any passer-by who sees the child will apprehend a person. diagnostic and interventionist technologies should be used—prenatally and postnatally—in order to eradicate genetically and/or hormonally gender-disabled fetuses. and as gendered subjects. or toward a fetus perceived to have a chromosomal. then we can proceed from there to see that any “need for treatment” arises not in the taken-as-obvious “problem” of intersex characteristics in the child. but to revise how we think of ‘treatment’ itself. Regardless of how self-evident the current clinical approach to intersex seems.e. not an ‘it’. oppositional dimorphism imposed on everything from appearance. clinicians. and so forth. “Gender Dimorph Utopia”. hormonal. we have not to treat the child in the medical sense. there is a need for a change in attitude emanating from the parents. We must take as obvious the personhood of the intersexed child rather than take as obvious that the personhood of the intersexed child is somehow obscured by the state of the genitals. or genetic profile likely to express itself in some form of intersexuality. If we understand treatment as an attitude or as a behaviour/stance that we take toward one another. babies with ambiguous genitalia) are to be labelled ‘temporarily intersexed’ and surgically corrected as soon after birth as possible so that they may fit into the proper gender location [2: 301]. and toward a new attitude of acceptance is that the standard treatments undermine the (formerly) intersexed adult’s sense of authenticity as persons. That is.. instead.Kathryn Pauly Morgan explains in her own parable. The reason that we need to turn away from the standard clinical treatment. ways that we can treat intersexed children. that surgical and other medical technologies such as those employed in the management of intersexed infants and children are thought to stave off a form of “gender-disability” that clinicians assume to be the obvious outcome of any nonconformity to the usual. the wider family. .
effectively stripping the self-designated sense of the West’s sovereign subjectivity but simultaneously closing off the avenue into retrieving a global politics in which Eastern subjectivity/agency is accorded significance.46 This is an undeniably important project and I in no way wish to denigrate it. “Is critical theory always for the white West and for Western imperialism? Beyond Westphilian towards a post-racist critical IR. traditional/ religious-oriented.43 Turning. to feminism and feminist IR theory. 33. especially within the Third World. it is now some two decades since Chandra Talpade Mohanty chastised much of critical Western feminism for its Eurocentrism.45 But while some progress has been made to overcome this problem in the social sciences. In developing Mohanty’s argument further.Turn—Imperialism/Eurocentric Feminist IR objectifies non-Western women—reentrenching dangerous binaries John M. much critical Western feminism presupposes a great divide between First and Third World women.44 and a quarter of a century since bell hooks chastised white feminist movements for their racism. therefore. Prof. this connects up with the ensuing discussion of Western feminism. insofar as a growing number of feminists are seeking to go beyond postmodern scepticism which. passive.. And this problem is exacerbated even further given that women within the West are usually portrayed by feminists as having little or no agency. there are a number of strands to note here. pathetic and victimised. Second. of Politics. First. having (relatively greater) control over their own bodies and the freedom to make their own decisions. ‘could lead to an abandonment of the political project of reducing women’s subordination that has motivated feminism since its earliest beginnings’. But the problem here is that revealing gender exclusively in this way runs the risk of returning us back into the Eurocentric cul-de-sac of rendering Eastern women as but passive victims of Western power. And in turn. Cambridge Journal Online Database.” Review of International Studies (2007). Hobson. the gap between much of feminist IR and non-Eurocentrism remains. with Eastern women/societies consequently being judged negatively against the White Western female experience.47 That is. as Ann Tickner points out. . modern. All in all. In returning us back into the cul-de-sac of patriarchal and Eurocentric discourse. 91– 116. Dept. thereby stripping them of agency. The University of Sheffield. Western women are represented as subjects while Eastern women are granted only object status. pioneering critical IR feminists such as Ann Tickner have located the specificity of gender by revealing how the world economy works to disadvantage women in relation to men. I think it fair to say that postmodernism presents an ambivalent critique of Eurocentrism. The former are portrayed as educated. this tendency leads many Western feminists to construct themselves as the higher normative referent in a binary schema. while Third World women are (re)presented as ignorant.
choices. in what contexts … gender is used as what sort of signifier to cover over what kinds of things” (p. the desire for individualist subject-constitution is linked to the idea that to build the colonial foundation for a “good society.67 That the oppression of women was sold as a central reason for needing to topple the Taliban (Kolhatkar & Ingalls. whereby dominant sites ask the subaltern to speak but precisely in a way that confirms the relations that constitute her in particular ways that are useful for global capital (see Spivak. 105). the type of developmentalist intervention that Orientalism furthers is often predicated on helping women. this inability to speak has been recoded within a new modality of contemporary global economics. March 2008. “[A]s long as we are writing for the West about 'the other. Western feminism has not only been complicit in the Orientalist constitution of the non-Western woman as inherently victimized and in need of help. Spivak (1990) reveals some of the problematics of the trope of non-Western women-as-victims through her focus on “what way. 83). 1991. as having control over their own bodies and sexualities” (Mohanty. It is within these contexts that Spivak makes her famous claim that the subaltern cannot speak (Mohanty. 87). Indeed. Critical Studies in Media Communication. Western women are portrayed as “educated. 1991. autonomy.' we are implicated in projects that establish Western authority and cultural difference” (p. It can be difficult for non-Western women to articulate problems within their communities without providing validation for imperialist projects and Orientalist visions through native confirmations. 2000a. As Abu-Lughod (2001) claims. 2000b). p. 1459). We see how Orientalist notions of modernity. p.” women are needed to serve as “objects of protection from their own kind” (Spivak. As will be discussed below.Turn—Imperialism/Eurocentric Western feminism creates a static image of non-Western subjects—this robs them of their agency and reinverts the power relations feminists are trying to escape Ansari. These points illustrate the context in which I am examining Return to Kandahar and how gendered Orientalist tropes . and liberty are coded in gendered ways and we can recognize how they invite intervention. 117). 48 . Spivak (1999) counters this binary with her desire to move away from a focus on the “subject-constitution” of the “female individualist” (p. 1991. p. 2003. 25:1. 1991. 1459). as modern. p. 85). or agency (Mohanty. Usamah '“Should I Go and Pull Her Burqa Off?”: Feminist Compulsions. 80). In contrast. and a Return to Kandahar'. Insider Consent. p. it has also constructed a Western feminist subject position in contrast to it. In the context of imperialism. as Third World women have “needs and wants” but never solutions. 52). Western feminism has often produced a supposedly universally analyzable and monolithic “Third World Woman” who is bound to tradition and domesticity (Mohanty. p. 2006) also reveals that Orientalist imaginations are gendered. Spivak also explores how feminism has historically been complicit with colonialism through her idea of “soul making” as a means to contrast the individualism of the feminist subject with that of the formless Other—the individualism of one is necessarily dependent on the erasure of the individuality of the other (in Morton.
pp. 1997b. 1997a. Hall. pp. pp. 1-13.inform the film's representations but also inform the kinds of interpretations audience members are encouraged to make through the signifying strategies (Fuery & Fuery. 1997c. 223-290) that mediate the Western audience's encounter with Nelofer Pazira's Afghanistan . 13-74. 2002.