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Feminism

Feminist Security Studies, to a greater extent than the other widening


deepening perspectives covered in this chapter, comprises sub-approaches
which adopt different referent objects, epistemologies and methodologies.
With the exception of traditional military-state centric approaches which
leave no room for gender and security, Feminist Security Studies can thus
be seen as a microcosm of ISS itself. The most significant questions on the
post-ColdWar Feminist Security Studies agendawere: first, howto further
develop the standpoint Feminist approach associated with J. Ann Tickner
and Cynthia Enloe presented in chapter 5, particularly how to tackle
the problems connected to its epistemology of experience; second, how to
integrate a new set of events; and third, how to respond to Constructivism
and quantitative Feminism.
The Tickner approach has been the most prevalent one within Feminist
Security Studies, in terms of which conceptualisation of security
is adopted and how it is introduced by most textbooks (Pettman, 2005;
Kennedy-Pipe, 2007;Tickner and Sjoberg, 2007).This approach hasmuch
in common with Critical Security Studies and Human Security in calling
for an expansion of the referent object to include women and nonmilitary
security sectors (Hoogensen and Rottem, 2004; Hudson, 2005;
Hoogensen and Stuvy, 2006). InTicknerswords, Feminists adopt
amultidimensional,
multilevel approach committed to emancipatory visions
of security that seek to understand how the security of individuals and
groups is compromised by violence, both physical and structural, at all
levels (Tickner, 2001: 48). Feminist analysis has as a consequence generally
taken a bottom-up approach, analyzing the impact of war at the
microlevel (Tickner, 2001: 48), deepened the referent object and widened
the sectors to which security is applicable.
Epistemologically, those working in the Tickner tradition have usually
adopted experiences as their key concept. The absence of women in
traditional ISS approaches and the form that gender-specific threats to
womens security take are closely connected to the fact that [too] often,
womens experiences have been deemed trivial or only important in so far as
they relate to the experiences of men and the questions they typically
ask (Tickner, 2005: 7). Feminist research, according to Tickner, is thus
informed by the assumption that womens lives are important and that
the routine aspects of everyday life that help sustain gender inequality
should be brought out (Tickner, 2005: 7). This leads to a preference
for methodologies that embrace an ethnographic style of individually
oriented story-telling typical of anthropology (Tickner, 1997: 615) or
hermeneutic and interpretative methodologies that allow subjects to
document their own experiences in their own terms (Tickner, 2005: 19).
The attraction of an epistemology of experience for Feminist Security
Studies aswell as forCritical Security Studies is that it brings in subjects
marginalised by state-centric and other collective concepts of security,
for instance victims of wartime rape or sex-trafficking (Stiglmayer, 1994;
Pickup, 1998; Denov, 2006; Jackson, 2006). Yet the weakness of an
epistemology
of experience is that it rests on standpoint feminisms view of
women as forming a coherent subject distinct from that of men. Many
standpoint feminists therefore developed diversity feminism that understands
identity as informed not only by gender but by ethnicity, class
and race (Dietz, 2003: 408). This opened up a bigger variety of gendered
referent objects and experiences, but it also created the problem of how
to unite a feminist movement and consciousness across multiple experiences.
The problem was in short that Feminist epistemology in the realm
of international security must either decide to curtail the admission of all
womens experiences or accept, as other fields have done, that there is
a need to judge and select, even within the feminist perspective (Grant,
1992: 95).

This is not only a matter of selecting which women to include. Rather,


the more fundamental problem is that experience relies upon an ambiguous
construction of the individual subject, gendered structures and the
privileged status of the researcher. Experience is on the one hand a
concept that promises a direct link to (marginalised) subjects everyday
lives and to a deeply subjective, narrative and often emotional form of
knowledge. Yet this subject is on the other hand constituted through a
gendered structure: it is only conceivable as a gendered experience if
gender is already accepted as a frame of reference. As Joan Scott (1992:
27) explains, experience leads us to take the existence of individuals for
granted (experience is something people have) rather than to ask how
conceptions of selves (of subjects and their identities) are produced.
Accepting Scotts call for giving the production of identity centre-stage,
some Feminists moved in a more Poststructuralist direction (Sylvester, 1994;
Weber, 1998). As chapter 5 and the section below lay out, this
implies a concern with the construction of identity, and in the specific
context of Feminism and gender with the often ambiguous and multifaceted
articulation of gendered subjects. Gender comes into Feminist
Poststructuralist focus, first, as the way in which other referent objects
states, nations or, for instance, religious groups are gendered, that is
constituted as masculine or feminine. Feminists working in this tradition
resonate with Poststructuralist and Critical Constructivist analyses which
trace the use of gendering representations as part of their broader study
of security discourses and narratives (Campbell, 1992; Weldes, 1996).
Second, gender comes into focus through an account of competing
constructions
of the gendered referent object itself and of the policy spaces
or silences that ensue (Hansen, 2001; Berman, 2003). To take the example
of sex-trafficking in women, one of the key themes on the post-Cold
War Feminist Security Studies agenda, Feminist researchers point to the
constitution of trafficked women as either the victims of kingpins and
manipulation or as illegal migrants seeking entrance into the labour
market of the EU (Pickup, 1998; Petersen, 2001; Berman, 2003; Aradau,
2004a; Jackson, 2006). Victims are to be assisted, although not necessarily
given asylum, while the illegal migrants are scheming subjects to
be deported. The key point for a Poststructuralist Feminist analysis is
here not to identify the real representation, but to explore and criticise
how subject constructions condition how women can appear (Hansen,
2001).
Yet not all those working in the field of gender and security would
self-identity as Feminists or adopt a TicknerHuman SecurityCritical
Security Studies or a Poststructuralist position. Expanding the scope of
Feminist/gender research in Security Studies, Caprioli (2004a) and R.
Charli Carpenter (2002) argue that Feminist Security Studies has been
dominated by the TicknerEnloe approach to such an extent that quantitative,
positivist and Constructivist scholarship has been marginalised.
Coming fromthe quantitative tradition of Peace Research,Mary Caprioli
(2004a) pointed to how Feminist theorists such as Sandra Harding have
called for all methodologies to be included, and specifically to the significance
of causal analyses of how gender impacts state behaviour, for
instance in a Feminist version of the democratic peace theory that examines
the relationship between gender equality, democracy and conflict
(Keohane, 1989; Caprioli, 2000, 2003, 2004b; Caprioli and Boyer, 2001;
Caprioli andTrumbore, 2003;Regan andPaskeviciute, 2003).Other quantitative
studies did not, as Caprioli, self-identify as Feminist, but adopted gender as a
variable in explaining public attitudes to foreign and security
policy (Togeby, 1994; Eichenberg, 2003). Shifting from explaining
state behaviour to women as a referent object for security, other studies
explored the correlation between polity type and human rights on the
one hand and womens security on the other (Caprioli, 2004b).
Caprioli self-identified herwork as Feminist,whereasCarpenter (2002)
argued in favour of a non-Feminist Conventional Constructivism that
examines the importance of normsfor national security but does not share
the political commitments of Feminism. Based on a study of humanitarian
evacuations during the BosnianWar,Carpenter (2003) concluded that
norms about the vulnerability of women and children conditioned the
policy options available to protection workers from the United Nations
HighCommissioner forRefugees(UNHCR).Hence, although adult males
and male adolescents were more likely to be massacred when besieged
enclaves fell to Serbian forces, women and children were the ones evacuated.
Put in the language of referent objects, men weremore likely victims
of gender-based violence and hence should be granted more concern by
Feminist security scholars (Jones, 1994, 1996, 1998; R. C.Carpenter, 2003,
2006). The general Feminist response to quantitative and Constructivist
(non-)Feminist analysis was that these did not consider women as a referent
object for security, and hence could not address the gender-specific
threats that women face (Carver, 2003; Bilgin, 2004c). Nor had Feminists
claimed that men and masculinity were not significant or indeed that men
were not more likely to die in combat, but rather that it was the constructions
of masculine and feminine identities and the protector/protected
dichotomies that made it seem warranted that men went to the line of
fire and women stayed at home (Enloe, 1983, 1989; Elshtain, 1987; Carver
et al., 1998; Locher and Prugl, 2001; Carver, 2003; Sjoberg, 2006). What
a Feminist expansion of the referent object revealed was that womens
security problems were privatised, marginalised or even silenced, and
that their deaths were validated differently from that of military mens,
not that men were not threatened.
This section has emphasised the analytical and epistemological debates
over how the gendered referent object might be broadened or deepened.
Yet it should be stressed thatmuch, if not most, of the work on gender and
security is not explicitly theoretical or engaging directly with the concept
of security, butwritten in an empirical low-theory style.As a consequence,
analysis often combines elements from several approaches. This empirical
focus also means that Feminism has to a large extent been driven by
events. Some of the key themes on the Feminist research agenda were: sex-
trafficking across old EastWest boundaries (Pickup, 1998; Petersen,
2001; Berman, 2003; Aradau, 2004a; Jackson, 2006); rape as a weapon
of war and other forms of wartime sexual violence (Rogers 1998; Stanley,
1999; Hansen, 2001; Skjelsbk, 2001; Denov, 2006); masculinities,
peacekeeping, humanitarian intervention and post-conflict reconstruction
including the difficulties of negotiating a traditional Feminist preference
for non-military solutions with womens demands for protection,
particularly in the light of scandalswhereUNpeacekeepers had kept prostitutes
or committed rape (Handrahan, 2004; Higate and Henry, 2004);
women and children as combatants and men as victims of sexual violence
(Jones, 1994; R. C. Carpenter, 2003, 2006; Alison, 2004; Fox, 2004;
Sjoberg, 2006; Sjoberg and Gentry, 2007); and the impact of the adoption
of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on gender and security in 2000
(Cohn et al., 2004). In terms of institutionalising these debates, the key
outlets were the International Feminist Journal of Politics, published from
1999, Millennium, with an anniversary special issue in 1998, Alternatives
and, from the mid-2000s, Security Dialogue.