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International Studies Review (2004) 6, 253–269

Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative
Methodology: A Critical Analysis 1

Department of Political Science, University of Tennessee

The purpose of this narrative is to build a bridge among feminist and
traditional worldviews within international relations (IR) scholarship. In
particular, this essay renews Ann Tickner’s appeal for dialogue between
feminist and conventional IR scholars. Not only is there room for such
dialogue, but it is necessary. The most dogmatic scholars from each
worldview generate and perpetuate an artificial divide. The purpose of
this essay is to provide an explanation and rationale for a small, but
growing, body of research that incorporates elements of gender and
social justice into conventional IR theory using various methodologies,
including a quantitative approach.

Quantitative methodology and feminism are not mutually exclusive. So why do
feminists and why does feminism appear to define and defend feminist scholarship
based on methodology? In so doing, feminists marginalize and devalue the appli-
cability of quantitative research for furthering feminist goals and, ultimately, them-
selves as well. Although Ann Tickner (2001) has offered a broad history of feminist
inquiry from liberal feminism to postmodernism, feminist international relations
(IR) scholarship seems to have settled into a particular mode with a narrow def-
inition based on methodology rather than on the contributions of the research.
Even though feminist quantitative IR research focuses on issues of social justice,
particularly as it relates to women, such research is not considered by many fem-
inists to be part of feminist IR scholarship. Indeed, many feminists (see, for ex-
ample, Peterson 1992, 2002; Sylvester 1994; Kinsella 2003; Steans 2003) appear to
reject feminist empiricist IR scholarship predominantly because of the methodol-
ogy it uses. These feminists will be referred to in this essay as conventional fem-
It is difficult to trace the history of exclusion of feminist IR empiricists. Empir-
icism is not inconsistent with feminist inquiry. It can support an activist agenda in its
commitment to freedom, equality, and self-government (Dietz 1985), and it can
facilitate the rejection of hierarchical domination, the use of military force, and
other forms of exploitation (Brock-Utne 1985). Despite these commonalities, fem-
inist scholarship at some point became defined on the basis of two characteristics:
‘‘an emphasis on women and a critical/interpretive epistemology’’ (Carpenter 2002:ftn.
1; emphasis added). In turn, feminist quantitative IR research (for example, Ben-
eria and Blank 1989; McGlen and Sarkees 1993; Caprioli 2000, 2003; Caprioli and
Boyer 2001; Regan and Paskeviciute 2003) has been devalued in comparison as

The author would like to thank Louise Olsson in the Department of Peace and Conflict Resolution at Uppsala
University for helping her see the need for this article.

r 2004 International Studies Review.
Published by Blackwell Publishing, 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA, and 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK.

whereas feminine characteristics are associated with interdependence and egalitarianism. It then explores some critical errors that conventional feminist IR scholars seem to be making. So as one who has been implicitly labeled insufficiently feminist. and territoriality. and gender (see Skjelsbaek and Smith 2001). Sue Thomas was praised for measuring the impact of gender on behavior in national legislatures. Therefore. violence. Feminists have challenged the gendered assumption typified by Lasswell’s theory of politics by highlighting how our current conceptions regarding politics and hu- man behavior are patterned on male behavior. which is why they go into politics. which are assumed to be personified by women (Miller 1988. all of which is historically linked with masculinity (Burguieres 1990). The discipline of political sci- ence is riddled with sexist assumptions. Moreover. and hopefully reduce the . the study of politics and our understanding thereof is based on a masculine stereotype with masculine characteristics valued over feminine. for using quantitative methodology in the promotion of gender equality and social justice. Gidengil 1995). 2001. Feminist Contributions Feminist theorists have played a crucial role in forcing scholars to recognize their gender biases despite claims of scientific objectivity.254 Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis ‘‘scholarship that utilizes gender in analysis while lacking one or both other com- ponents of feminist theory’’ (Carpenter 2002:ftn. Toward that end. all of which are assumed to be personified by men. when. Put sim- ply. intransigence. and on conflict more generally. explain. International relations scholarship focuses on war. conventional fem- inists are creating hierarchies within a field that is focused on rejecting and de- constructing hierarchies. who are permitted greater flexibility in their choice of valid research tools. most political science un- dergraduates are taught at an introductory level that political science is about answering the who. Welch and Hibbing 1992. This assumption of universality based on male experience and characteristics is further perpetuated in IR theories intended to explain how world politics works (see Tickner 1992. the present author has written this narrative to justify the use of quantitative methodology in the pursuit of feminist IR goals. Indeed. by excluding quantitative feminist IR scholarship. Masculine charac- teristics are associated with competition. Ironically. in order to predict. White 1988. 2001). Human political behavior is not universal but rather context-specific based on variables such as race. This flexibility does not preclude feminist Ameri- canists from using quantitative methods (see. what. ethnicity. The subfield of feminist IR scholarship might be considered the last safe haven within international relations for qualitative work. for example. This rejection is not the case for feminist Americanists. it attempts to bridge the gap between feminism and international relations. so- cioeconomic status. Finally. 1). Welch and Hibbing 1992. Thomas 1994). Perhaps the heightened antipathy toward feminist quantitative research has arisen because quantitative methodology has gained such wide support within the general field of international relations. by definition. This type of inquiry seems benign until you understand the assumptions. indeed. politics is about men (‘‘the who’’) wanting power and dominance (‘‘the what’’) achieved through aggression (‘‘the how’’). and how of political events (Lasswell 1936). Welch and Comer 1975. 2001). should not be constructed based on stereotypical masculine characteristics and certainly cannot be completely understood using a male-centered analysis (see Tickner 1992. this essay first highlights some broad feminist contributions to political science and to interna- tional relations. culture. Feminists argue that the political world need not and. Harold Las- swell (1936) assumed that politicians have unusual needs for power and domi- nance. the rejection of such research seems to be accentuated within the subfield of feminist IR scholars. For example.

IR scholars may just be building a proverbial house of cards. If the role of ‘‘feminist theory is to explain women’s subordination. support for the rule of law. If domestic inequality does affect state behavior. Feminists most consistently argue that improving the condition of women. or the unjustified asymmetry between women’s and men’s social and economic positions. Indeed. state-focused models. as in the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. MARY CAPRIOLI 255 number of conflicts and the severity of violence. including gender relations’’ (Tickner 2001:146). Contrary to the argument that conventional IR theory excludes feminist inquiry. then feminist IR scholarship ought to allow for an explanation of how women’s subordination or inequality has an impact on state behavior. that go beyond structural. Feminist IR theorists. partly in response to the decline in the systemic imperatives of the bipolar era. 2003b). and moving beyond it’’ (Ray 2000:311). just as room exists for scholars interested in exploring the democratic peace and ethnonationalism. as Jack Levy (2000) has observed. International relations fem- inists make the same mistake that they accuse IR scholars of making: narrowing the space for various worldviews. recognizes the role of social relations in explaining state behavior. then policy prescriptions should be sought. assuming a state- centric focus. Van Evera 1997. Caprioli and Trumbore 2003a. while at the same time challenging the predetermination of a struc- tural analysis. In addition. among others. particularly its normative explana- tion (Maoz and Russett 1993. theorizing and research in the field of ethnonationalism has highlighted connections that domestic ethnic discrimination and violence have with state behavior at the international level (Gurr and Harff 1994. thereby creating competition and a sense of exclusion among the so-called others. space exists within the field of international relations for feminist inquiry even allowing for a state-centric focus. among other lines of inquiry. Certainly the democratic peace literature. Dixon 1994). chal- lenging gender-neutral assumptions that are really male-centric. and committing to social justice are critical and necessary components of feminist international relations (see Peterson 2002). International relations feminists reject this state of nature myth because of its masculine assumptions as outlined above. by explaining that if prediction and explanation are predicated on erroneous as- sumptions about the universality of human experience based on a masculine ster- eotype. feminist international relations challenges the assumption that theories are gender neutral (Pettman 2002). a significant shift to societal-level variables has occurred. As a result. Furthermore. including feminist inquiry. dyadic tests of the democratic peace thesis rely ‘‘on an emerging theoretical framework that may prove capable of incorporating the strengths of the currently predom- inant realist or neorealist research program. At the most basic level. Christine Sylvester (2002a) has . Jousting with Windmills Conventional feminist IR scholars misrepresent the field of international relations in arguing that IR scholarship as popularly accepted excludes alternative expla- nations of state behavior. or even perpetuates the existence of states. and peaceful conflict resolution in explaining the likelihood of interstate conflict. Feminist IR theorists have proclaimed the emperor naked. they appear to set up a straw man by refusing to recognize the variety within ‘‘conventional’’ IR research. highlighting the pernicious effects of gender hierarchy. the genesis of tra- ditional IR theory can be traced to the Hobbesian description of the state of nature wherein distrust and fear are presumed to be the dominant emotions and forces for political action. Unfortunately. The normative explanation for the democratic peace thesis emphasizes the soci- etal level values of human rights. critique the IR field for its state-centric approach and argue that ‘‘a world of states situated in an anarchical international system leaves little room for analyses of social relations. and to seek prescriptions for ending it’’ (Tickner 2001:11).

In general. conventional IR feminists commit the same error they accuse IR scholars of making by limiting the definition of legitimate scholarship based on methodology. including that of state behavior. regardless of methodology. Second. It seems overly pessimistic to accept Karl Popper’s ‘‘Myth of Framework. This debate. the ‘‘Myth of Framework’’ shares a number of assumptions with Hob- bes’s description of the state of nature that feminists routinely reject. 2001. emphasis in original). can further feminist goals by focusing on the role that the norms of inequality and dominance play in constructing the international po- litical world. our language. however. ‘‘some prefer starting with a recognizable IR topic and bringing to it new gender-highlighting questions’’ (Sylvester 2002b:181). is beyond the scope of this essay. The ‘‘Myth of Framework’’ assumes no middle groundFscholars are presumably entrenched in their own worldviews without hope of compromise or the ability to understand others’ worldviews. Tickner 1996. The acceptance of such a myth creates conflict and establishes a hierarchy within international relations scholarship even though conventional feminists theoretically seek to identify and eradicate conflict and hierarchy within society as a whole. ‘‘Often they argue that the interesting problems of politics are too complex to be reduced to mathematical equations even though it is exactly when dealing with complex problems that mathematics becomes an attractive substitute for ordinary language because it is in complex problems that errors in informal logic are most easily made and the hardest to discover’’ (Bueno de Mesquita 2002:5. conventional IR feminists create and perpetuate a hierarchy. conventional feminists routinely accept the socially constructed belief in the superiority of quan- titative methodology rather than deconstructing this notion and accepting quan- titative methodology as one of many imperfect research tools. rather than only on the bias inherent in male-centered inquiry and the unequal impact of state violence on women. . common measures do exist across paradigms that provide a shared basis for theory. Steans 2003) appear to embrace this ‘‘Myth of Frame- work’’ by accentuating the differences between the perspectives of feminist and IR theorists based on their past experiences and languages and criticize IR theorists for their lack of communication with feminist IR scholars. we cannot communicate with or judge those working in terms of a different paradigm’’ (Neufeld 1995:44). our expectations.’’ which postulates that ‘‘we are prisoners caught in the framework of our theories. Indeed. Some feminists (for example. The purported language difference between feminist and IR scholars appears to be methodological. First. scholars are doomed to discussions with like- minded individuals rather than having a productive dialogue with those outside their own worldview. Creating False Dichotomies Conventional feminists appear to make several errors in creating a dichotomy be- tween what is considered ‘‘feminist’’ research and what would be called quantitative research. Scholars who accept the ‘‘Myth of Framework’’ have essentially cre- ated a Tower of Babel in which they choose not to understand each other’s language. The role of feminist IR scholarship has also been identified as showing ‘‘how gender rela- tions of inequality act to exclude women from the business of foreign policymak- ing’’ (Tickner 1999:48).256 Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis argued that feminists generally begin with gender but that not all such scholars are feminists first. Peterson 2002. our past experiences. and that as a consequence. There is little utility in constructing a divide if none exists. by maintaining that a dichotomy exists between methodologies. At issue is the question: might feminist IR scholarship benefit from moving beyond a focus on the exclusion of women toward a focus on the impact of that exclusion on state behavior? Feminist and gendered scholarship. Third. If this is the case. As Thomas Kuhn (1962) argues. Ironically. feminist IR scholars2 are skeptical of empiricist 2 Feminists are not alone in questioning the suitability of applying statistical methods from the natural sciences to the social sciences.

why restrict research tools? There would seem to be a lack of con- sistency between rhetoric and practice. Such a research agenda must include both evidence and logic (Bueno de Mesquita 2002. the data exercises degenerate into mindless fishing expeditions and are vulnerable to spu- rious interpretations’’ (Chan 2002:750). Chan 2002. No one methodology is superior to the others. and Ann Tickner (1992). and external validity (generality) are all necessary components of researchFonly through a combination of all three modes of inquiry can we begin to gain confidence in our understanding. when put together like pieces of a puzzle. conventional IR feminists appear to discriminate against quantitative research. Ironically. they offer a clearer picture. Without logic and theory. we need to integrate careful empirical analysis with the equally careful application of the power of reason’’ (Bueno de Mesquita 2002:2). Further undermining the false dichotomization between positivist and inter- pretivist methodologies is the lack of proof that quantitative methodologies cannot challenge established paradigms or. as when historical studies isolate immediate causes that act as catalysts for the general ten- dencies identified in aggregate analyses’’ (Chan 2002:754). Rather than pushing methodological boundaries to expand the field and to promote in- clusiveness. that a critical-interpretive epistemology is unbiased or more likely to uncover some truth that is supposedly obscured by quantitative inquiry. 1). MARY CAPRIOLI 257 methodologies and ‘‘have never been satisfied with the boundary constraints of conventional IR’’ (Tickner 2001:2). quantitative feminist IR scholarship would be meaningless. Part of the rationale for the perpetuation of the dichotomy between methodologies and for the critique of quantitative methodology . conventional feminist IR scholars might benefit from participating in mainstream IR scholars’ evolving embrace of methodological pluralism and epistemological opportunism (Bueno de Mesquita 2002. Feminist theory is rife with testable hypotheses that can only strengthen feminist IR scholarship by identifying false leads and logical errors or by identifying general tendencies that deserve further inquiry. The idea is to build a bridge of knowledge. there need not be only one way to achieve feminist goals. These IR feminists shattered the publishing boundary for feminist IR scholarship and tackled the difficult task of deconstructing IR theory. conventional international re- lations is defined on the basis of methodology as a commitment ‘‘to empiricism and data-based methods of testing’’ (Tickner 2001:149). ‘‘And still we debate what seems to have been obvious to our predecessors: to gain under- standing. Different types of scholarship ‘‘make different contributions that can be mutually beneficial. ‘‘In the absence of guidance from such logic. and. more important. One must assume that feminist IR scholars support the pursuit of research that broadens our understanding of international relations. Especially at the global level. Hence. not parallel walls that are equally inadequate in their understanding of one another and in explaining international relations. If conventional feminists are willing to embrace multicultural approaches to feminism. It is only through exposure to feminist literature that one can begin to scientifically question the sexist assumptions inherent in the dominant paradigms of international relations. Fearon and Wendt 2002). the general tendencies identified through quantitative analysis are incomplete. some feminist IR scholars place boundary constraints on feminist IR scholarship by limiting its def- inition to a critical-interpretive methodology (see Carpenter 2003:ftn. The existing feminist literature based on critical-interpretive epistemologies forms the rationale for quantitative testing. Most scholars concerned with gender cer- tainly owe a debt to Jean Bethke Elshtain (1987). thereby creating the logic to guide feminist quantitative re- search. So. As noted above. Theorizing. including its founding myths. Chan 2002). why create a dichotomy if none exists? All methodologies contribute to our knowl- edge. Cynthia Enloe (1989). case study evidence (specific details). Without the solid body of feminist liter- ature that exists.

and economic context. perhaps. This procedure leaves room for debate and provides space for feminist inquiry. By largely ignoring feminist empiricist scholarship.’’ Notwithstanding the one-third of adult males who are disenfranchised. how- ever. quantitative research is idealized as value-free and objective. Although the history of statistical methods might be perceived as having had questionable motivations with its genesis rooted within a particular social. however. As Evelyn Hammonds and Helen Longina (1990) argue.258 Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis as a valid type of feminist inquiry involves confusing theory and practice. feminists need to present a clearly articulated critique of quantitative methodology demonstrating its inherent mas- culinity. As a result. which is why so much emphasis is placed on defining measures. this beginning does not invalidate knowledge gained from mathematics or render the mathemat- ics false (Hughes 1995). democracy should be based on political rights. no distinctive feminist methodology exists because each methodology can contribute to feminist goals. If more women were to use the scientific method. for ex- ample. labels a state a democracy ‘‘if the body of citizens with political rights in- cludes at least two-thirds of the adult males. would suggest that this methodology is value-free. This association between statistics and masculinity is based on a line of feminist inquiry that exposes the association of masculinity with objectivity and the scientific method (Keller 1983:187). Feminists op- posed to quantitative methodologies imagine that other scholars necessarily assume such scholarship to be objective (see Brown 1988). The interpretation and the measurement used. a certain prestige in and inherent bias toward using the scientific method arises precisely because the world is organ- ized hierarchically based on gender (Keller 1983:202). feminists might wish to study the effect of varying definitions of democracy and of security on the democratic peace thesis. Is the concept of democracy normative or a de- scription of the type of government found in the dominant states of our sys- temFthose that cannot be characterized as autocratic or totalitarian? Or. Spencer Weart (1994:302). This fact does not reveal a flaw in the methodology but merely indicates that data are subject to the interpretation of the scholar who must rely on theory to guide analysis. It is true that often-used measures tend to be biased by the worldviews of the scholars who constructed them. let us examine the democratic peace thesis and the role of definitions. this definition completely excludes women from the analysis. On a theoretical level. Hooper 2001). a different science might emerge (Keller 1983. For example. the numerical results should be identical. however. Few social scientists using quan- titative methodologies. For il- lustrative purposes in highlighting the importance of being precise in our definitions and measurements. ultimately combining methodologies to provide a more thorough understanding of the social matrix underlying state behavior. The second aspect perpetuating the dichotomy between methodologies is in er- roneously identifying statistics as having an inherently masculine agenda. Feminists might also wish to question the following assumption: ‘‘Democratic norms have become deeply entrenched. political. conventional feminists are missing an opportunity to make an important contribution to IR scholarship in helping identify and critique the gendered as- sumptions that can affect measurement and the interpretation of results. It is unfortunate that some feminists feel the need to justify conventional feminist epistemologies because of the apparent low status such research has. Hughes 1995). But this belief in the supe- riority of quantitative methods is socially constructed (Keller 1983. which of course it is notFparticularly when applied to the social sciences. Whether or not a traditional or feminist IR scholar runs the same statistical analysis. are subject to debate. The math itself is not necessarily biased. Feminists should join Ido Oren (1995) in debating how democracy should be defined. and that those worldviews may or may not include considerations of gender. since many states have been democracies . As Sandra Harding (1987:1) has argued.

the World Report on Economics and Social Conditions. international organizations rou- tinely build support for their policies. . thus. should be open to debate. would benefit from continuing to explore how quantitative research can further their purposes. For example. Data. IR feminists argue that the exclusion and subordination of women is a global problem. are. MARY CAPRIOLI 259 for long periods and principles such as true universal suffrage have been put into practice’’ (Maoz and Russett 1993:627). even this conclusion creates space for feminist dialogue in theorizing about the characteristics that would need to be present for constructing a different world that includes gender equality. Such a position would grossly overstate the feminist case. based on statistics. Yet. is not analogous to language and is not restrictive. in essence. Feminists offer no direct refutation of the statistics employed by IR scholars but rather of the supposed assumption of objectivity behind the methodology. quantitative studies are sometimes cited if they support conventional feminist IR arguments. Hartsock 1989. Essentially. the UN Demographic Yearbook. We know this fact based on dataFquantitatively derived data. The World Tables. At the most basic level. are often used to further feminist goals. then. not in a position to take advantage of the opportunity to directly engage the broader community of IR scholars. and political equality (see Caprioli forthcoming-b)? Equally shocking is the statement that ‘‘in a democracy. such as for micro-credit for women. Caprioli 2003). among others. from human rights to war. 1979. order can be maintained without violent suppression’’ (Maoz and Russett 1993:630). 1987. however. And though largely ignored. Definitions and predictions. gender is one of many variables when we are discussing international issues. gender is not the core of international relations or the key to understanding it. Po- vinelli 1991. Feminists. quantitative methods could become one common approach to studying issues important to feminists. de- mocracies routinely overlook social violence and often this violence is against women (Broadbent 1993. MacKinnon 1987. Controversy usually occurs over the rationales that are used for coding and the interpretation of results. One of the most common feminist critiques of feminist quantitative research is that scholars cannot simply ‘‘add gender and stir’’ (Peterson 2002. As Fred Halliday (1988) has observed. A Response to the ‘‘Add Gender and Stir’’ Criticism The derision with which many conventional feminists view feminist quantitative studies persists to the detriment of both feminist and other types of IR scholarship. Moon 1997. Yet. the government rarely needs to use force to resolve conflicts. for gender is not just one of many variables. Statistics. What exactly is true universal suffrage. Feminists argue that reality is constructed through words (Dworkin 1974. and what are democratic norms if they exclude women’s social. Gender may be an important explanatory and predictive component but it certainly is not the only one. 1993. no single feminist position exists in international relations. 1989. however. Milliken and Sylvan 1996). Cohn 1987. a study by Mark Tessler and Ina Warriner (1997) has been used to lend credence to the argument that ‘‘reducing unequal gender hierarchies could make a positive contribution to peace and social justice’’ (Tickner 2001:61). By refusing to recognize quantitative methodologies as valid. So. such as that provided in the UN Statistical Yearbook. feminists fail to offer a much needed critique and reconceptualization of current IR research such as that just described. Conventional feminists. one can only communicate ideas that the language allows. Furthermore. As Jan Jindy Pettman (2002) has argued. Steans 2003). Thomas 1993. however. Yet. including consideration of the alternative that women may not matter in the current structure of the international arena given the reality of state power. Perhaps this is because the statistical results themselves may be irrefutable given the def- initions used. economic.

260 Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis Such a critique only serves to undermine the feminist argument against a sci- entific methodology for the social sciences by questioning the scholarship of those who employ quantitative methodologies. one could argue that it is difficult. through empirically observable measures that indicate the extent of its presence (Frankfort-Nachmias and Nachmias 2000).’’ We know.’’ Variables are added to models if a theoretical justification for doing so exists: the basic method of social science remains the same: make a conjecture about causality. Beyond a female-centric analysis. is in understanding that it is considered a political means of domination with masculine characteristics valued over feminine (Humm 1990). however. (Keohane 1998:196) Peterson (2002:158) postulates that ‘‘as long as IR understands gender only as an empirical category (for example. consistent with established theory (and perhaps deduced from it. test for whether those implications obtain in the real world. 2003. Gender categories. warning that feminists should avoid an exclusive focus on highlighting anomalies. even though the utility of using a purely female- centered analysis seems equally biased. thereby ‘‘adding and stirring. Carver 2002) ar- gue that feminist research must offer a critique of gender as a set of power relations. we use indicators of concepts that are not directly observable. for example. surely an integrated approach would offer a more comprehensive analysis of world affairs. Although gender and sex have been conflated. Critiquing the social construction of gender is important. for instance. Hooper 2001). If researchers cannot add gender to an analysis. and it would thereby provide an equally biased account of international relations as those that are male-centric. Gender (masculine/feminine) and biological sex (men/women). therefore. for such a focus does not add to feminist IR theories. One does not pull variables ‘‘out of the air’’ to put into a model.’’ Yet. are often used interchangeably (see Carpenter 2002). do exist and have very real implications for individ- uals. no science of social behavior can exist (Frankfort- Nachmias and Nachmias 2000). that masculine and feminine values are not inherent to each biological sex but are adopted behaviors (Goffman 1976). This hierarchy based on gen- der leads to ‘‘social relations of domination and subordination’’ (Tickner 1992:128). Sex. Without measurement. The importance of discussing gender. and overall. formulate that conjecture as an hypothesis. social relations. but it fails to provide new theories of international relations or to address the implications of gender for what happens in the world. Sylvester (2002a) has wondered aloud whether feminist research should be focused primarily on critique. ensure that one’s procedures are publicly known and replicable. In social science. some scholars (for example. produced and reproduced in interaction between and among men and women. at least in part). to measure any complex subject. As Susan Gal (1991:175) argues ‘‘gender is better seen as a system of culturally constructed relations of power. We infer the presence of gender discrimination. is a meaningful category in feminist analysis because it helps us . then they must necessarily use a purely female-centered analysis. to identify social characteristics of women that are unique from those of gender-prescribed values and roles and from those of men (see Caprioli 2000. however. feminisms appear largely irrelevant to the discipline’s primary questions and inquiry. if not impossible. how do women in the military affect the conduct of war?). specify the observable implications of the hypothesis. Relevant evidence has to be brought to bear on hypotheses generated by theory for the theory to be meaningful. and international affairs. little evidence actually supports this contentionFunless one is arguing that gender is the only important category of analysis. Such research would merely be gender- centric based on women rather than men. however. Although one might speculate that having research done from the two opposing worldviews might more fully explain international relations.

Therefore. Conover and Sapiro 1993. and Allsop 1993). which. combining feminist and security studies. they do find a robust . Laura Hewitt. Quantitative Contributions Supporting Feminist Theories Although many IR feminists claim ‘‘that positivist methodologies are inadequate for building a body of knowledge that takes gender identity and hierarchical social relations as its central framework and that acknowledges the mutual constitution of theory and practice’’ (Tickner 2002:196). Ferrar. Indeed. McGlen and Sarkees 1993. They included gender em- powerment in their multiple regression. The authors tested the feminist claim that issues of gender are important in predicting the use of force during interstate disputes. They conclude that sex is not a significant predictor of attitudes about war but that the relation between norms of gender equality and attitudes toward international conflict is statistically significant. Palestine. Egypt. The authors conclude that no statistically significant relationship exists between sex and attitudes toward international conflict in the Middle East. sex becomes an indicator of gender and can be empirically measured in keeping with the stated purpose of feminism. They test the extent to which sex and gender equality explain the variance in views about war and peace. and second as a means of broadening our understanding of democracy within the democratic peace literature by using gender equality as one indicator of the entrenchment of democratic values. Quantitative research can be used to analyze the significance of gender as long as (1) gender is recognized as socially constructed. Genest. Nachtwey. Clyde Wilcox. do find a statistically significant difference between the sup- port of men and women for the use of military force (for example. (2) sociopolitical outcomes are demonstrated to be a result of gender construction. and Wilcox 1990. although not uniform and not always sub- stantively significant. which involves furthering the cause of women as a biological sex and examining gender as a social construct. and Kuwait. which might be considered one of the first quantitative feminist literatures. The following offers a brief summary of the feminist implications of some of these quantitative international relations studies. Fite. In other words. quantitative study of feminist international relations theories regarding state be- havior. Such a list needs to start with the literature on public opinion. Wilcox. or consti- tute the outcomes in question’’ (Carpenter 2003:298) is provided. and Audra Grant (1999) extended Tessler and Warriner’s (1997) study but focus exclusively on the relationship between sex and attitudes toward international conflict. quantitative IR scholars. This study includes more data from the original countries and adds data for Jordan and Lebanon. Jodi Nachtwey. and GrantFfind cross-national differ- ences in the link between sex and attitudes toward international conflict. MARY CAPRIOLI 261 understand the effects of the prevailing masculine/feminine stereotypes at all levels of analysis. some of whom would consider themselves feminist. This discussion is not meant to be exhaustive but rather a rep- resentation of existing quantitative security studies that both add to and draw from feminist IR scholarship. These conclusions differ from studies of the United States and Europe. enable. Tessler and Warriner (1997) contribute to the dialogue between gender studies and international relations with their empirical study analyzing survey data from Israel. Mark Tessler. Monty Marshall and Donna Ramsey (1999) conducted one. Although the authors make no strong causal inferences based on their analysis. although it is not always focused on international studies. first to test whether gender equality helped predict state use of force. have begun to build just such a body of knowledge. quantitative gender analysis can meet Robert Keohane’s (1998:197) challenge to specify propositions that are tested using systematically gathered evidence. if not the first. and (3) ‘‘a convincing empirical account of the ways in which the belief operated to constrain. and Dee Allsop’s (1996) findingsFlike those of Tessler.

Caprioli (forthcoming-b) engaged in a large empirical study to examine whether notions of security are gender neutral in creating the same political freedoms and human rights for men and women. She used logistic regression to test the relationship between several measures of women’s social. More specifically. she included an analysis relating gendered structural inequality to domestic norms of violence. The authors pro- vide an empirically based descriptive analysis of the behavior of states with female leaders as primary decision makers during times of international crises. Caprioli (2000) applied feminist theory and drew upon the empirical findings of the public opinion surveys dis- cussed above to test the potential impact of domestic gender equality on state behavior internationally. states characterized by gender inequality are more likely to experience intrastate conflict. and political equality and the escalation of violence during militarized interstate disputes. concluding that the severity of violence in a crisis does decrease as domestic gender equality increases. confirming the basic link between gender inequality and intrastate conflict. The authors offer a policy pre- scription suggesting that support for family planning facilities can facilitate more peaceful interstate relations. economic. In this piece. The authors conclude that women’s access to the political arena helps predict the likelihood of a state engaging in interstate disputes and in war. In this research. In other words. In other words. Marshall and Ramsey (1999:32) con- clude ‘‘that gender theory and analysis may be successfully integrated with traditional international relations theory and quantitative research methods. highlighting their gender bias. Caprioli concludes that higher levels of gender equality lower the level of state aggression during interstate disputes. To more closely examine some of the sexist assumptions within security studies. In a later study. This piece directly explored feminist IR theories regarding gender bias by exam- ining these universalist security assumptions. Patrick Regan and Aida Paskeviciute (2003) extended the analysis of gender equality and state use of force internationally beyond the state level by focusing on whether the gender distribution of political power at the societal level influences the willingness of the ruling elite to engage in interstate disputes. the author seriously considers the implications of feminist theories by providing an analysis of structural violence and the role of gender inequality and discrimination in nation- alist uprisings to assess this variable’s potential role in predicting intrastate violence.’’ Adding to the quantitative feminist IR literature. Caprioli uses logistic regression to examine the impact of gender inequality on the likelihood of intrastate conflict and concludes that domestic gender equality re- duces the occurrence of intrastate violence. They then use logistic regression to test the relationship between domestic gender equality and the level of violence exhibited during international crises. Caprioli and Boyer (2001) extend Caprioli’s earlier work to assess the impact of domestic gender equality on state’s international crisis behavior. and . states with higher levels of gender inequality are more likely to use force first in interstate disputes. Caprioli (forthcoming-a) extends her earlier findings relating gender equality to interstate behavior to internal or domestic level conflict. Caprioli concludes that higher levels of domestic gender equality result in less emphasis on military action in settling international disputes. The authors further argue that the use of violence institutionalizes discrim- ination and inhibits further gender equality. she was interested in testing whether democracy and human rights positively relate to women’s security. Using logistic regression to assess the role of domestic gender equality in predicting the likelihood of a state using force first during interstate disputes permits a more rigorous test of the author’s earlier work by isolating the effects of reciprocated violence.262 Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis relationship between gender empowerment and the willingness of states to use force. Caprioli (2003) further tested the relationship between domestic gender equality and state behavior during militarized interstate disputes.

the lower the like- lihood that a state will engage in interstate disputes and in war (Regan and Paskeviciute 2003). (10) Women and men use different negotiating styles. and Grant 1999). this quantitative international relations literature leads to several conclusions: (1) The mixed findings in the public opinion scholarship regarding sex and attitudes toward international conflict create a space for further feminist theorizing and demand further empirical analyses. Indeed. Consider the difference this type of negotiating style might make as more women gain political equality and become policymakers. Cap- rioli concluded that security norms are gender biased in that women lack security across all polity types and that this insecurity is not fully captured using typical measures of human rights. see also 2001) does assess issues of causality in Bananas. MARY CAPRIOLI 263 emphasizing the need to move beyond naı̈ve assumptions of human security. (9) Security norms are gender biased. these studies argue that discrimination and violence against women have implica- tions for the state. . Focusing on sex rather than gender. Women tended to negotiate by appealing to higher principles such as justice or the consequences on participants (see also Gilligan 1982). Feminists’ Self-Reflection on Methodology There does appear to be a tension among feministsFand some self-reflection re- garding the role that quantitative methodology can play in the examination of world politics. (5) Gender equality decreases the severity of violence during crisis (Caprioli and Boyer 2001). (6) Gender equality reduces the likelihood that a state will use force first in interstate disputes (Caprioli 2003). potentially leading to different foreign policy outcomes (Florea et al. (4) Gender equality limits the escalation of violence during militarized in- terstate disputes (Caprioli 2000). Rather than making a case for gender equality based on issues of social justice (though that ought to be sufficient). (7) Gender equality reduces the occurrence of intrastate violence (Caprioli forthcoming-a). perhaps it is best to let the feminist IR scholars speak for themselves. (2) Norms of gender equality seem to be associated with attitudes toward international conflict. thus highlighting the need for policy prescriptions that address the differential impact of democracy and hu- man rights on women and men (Caprioli forthcoming-b). Based on the public opinion literature. Some of these studies have direct policy implications concerning gender equality. (3) Gender empowerment decreases states’ use of force internationally (Marshall and Ramsey 1999). (8) The greater the access of women to political power. The studies discussed above further our understanding of the role that gender equality can play in predicting state behavior. norms of gender equality are better predictors of state behavior than is sex (Tessler and Warriner 1997. and Bases. Tessler. The authors found that gender affected negotiating style based on evidence indicating that all-female groups behaved differently from all- male groups and that mixed gendered groups behaved differently from both single sex groups. Elshtain (1993:102) states that she is ‘‘not anti-empir- ical. Beaches. Nachtwey. Natalie Florea and her colleagues (2003) empirically tested feminist hypotheses regarding differences in negotiating styles between men and women. however. For example. 2003). In keeping with feminist methodology.’’ And Enloe (1989.

Sylvester (2002b:181–182).’’ It is important to remember that limited impact is not the same as no impact. Since a basic assumption of post- positivist feminist IR has been the inadequacy of conventional methodologies for understanding the issues with which it is concerned. . can (or should) we be truly tolerant when fundamental questions about epistemologies are at stake? (Tickner 2002:197–198). (Tickner 1999:48) Even though many IR feminists have rejected social scientific methodologies. truly. Quantitative anal- ysis. and I believe that IR needs feminist and other critical interventions. An important (and uncomfortable) ques- tion for many IR feminists is whether our tolerance (and celebration) of differ- ence can extend to this type of work. includ- ing gender relations. Tickner is not alone in trying to determine the costs and benefits of accepting quantitative feminist research as feminist. formal modeling. .’’ This wrestling suggests that there may be hope that the differences among quantitative feminist. it is important that reducing such tension does not involve dismissing typical feminist methodologies as illegitimate. building crucial subfields directly benefits participants and indirectly promotes changes in the mainstream. points out that few feminist IR scholars choose to use quantitative method- ologies: most feminists engaged with international relations share interest in ethnograph- ic and anthropological methods of analysis. and economic relations. The arguments raised herein have been intended to focus on the inconsistencies that result from some feminists’ refusals to recognize feminist quantitative scholarship. . traditional international relations. which inform the behavior of states. . I do think that IR feminists in postpositivist traditions should con- sider how to engage more seriously with the type of work [that adds women to existing paradigms and research traditions]. First. Peterson (2002:159) echoes some of Tickner’s reflections: there are good reasons for continuing to ‘‘ask feminist questions in IR. . Of course. social. . Benefits and . the introduction of feminist approaches into the discipline has also stimulated a growing body of research on women in international politics that draws on these more conventional methodologies. with human geography replacing geopolitics and bottom-up research transplanting abstractions. But we must continue to strive for a deeper and more systematic understanding of the political. although not discounting feminist quantitative liter- ature. But there is. In the absence of more transdisciplinary offerings and job placements. and feminist IR scholars can be reduced. no need to battle over analytical paradigms if all are useful (Fearon and Wendt 2002). continuing to work ‘‘within IR’’ is important for the differences it already makes and will con- tinue to make. (Tickner 2002:197) Nevertheless. whereas feminist methodologies provide a rich contextual analysis. Quantitative feminist studies can provide an understanding of trends. gamingFthere are few followers of these approaches in the feminist corner of ‘‘our field.264 Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis Below are several quotes from Tickner that highlight the dilemma for feminist IR scholars in accepting the validity of quantitative feminist scholarship: I share the views of many contemporary feminists that developing causal expla- nations modeled on the natural sciences is inappropriate in the social sciences due to the impossibility of separating human intentions and human interests from our knowledge construction. Not least among these is the availability of feminist IR (and other critical studies) as an area of inquiry for students and an academic option for graduates.

Indeed. Building on existing feminist theoretical discourse. MARY CAPRIOLI 265 costs attend to both types of analyses: the first offers generalizability with limited detail. make ‘‘strategic use of [expert jargon] to gain credibility for feminist arguments (or otherwise subvert it for feminist ends). This insight could be applied to feminist research within international relations. do states with the largest gender gaps regarding support for the use of force and with nominal political equality between the sexes behave any differently internationally than do states not sharing these characteristics? Another interesting line of quantitative feminist inquiry might examine the complexities involved in using a broader definition of security. quantitative feminists can address the question: ‘‘Does it make any difference to states’ behavior that their foreign and security policies are so often legitimated through appeals to various types of hegemonic masculinity?’’ (Tickner 2001:140). found that one could not be understood or taken seriously within the national security arena without using a masculine-gendered language. for example.’’ Thus. willingness to end conflict through mediation. These arguments concerning structural inequality and societal violence add further depth to the established literature that indicates the role of domestic political factors in predicting state behavior in the international arena. feminism. economic. Why not. in opposition to realism. as was observed above. As Tickner (1992:22) has argued. scholars need to analyze the effects of inequality on the stateFspecifically state behavior internationally. 2003b) that bor- rows from the democratic peace literature to argue that domestic norms of violence inherent in structural inequality transfer to the international arena just as domestic norms of peaceful conflict resolution are said to do. Creating a Dialogue between Feminist and IR Scholars We should learn from the research of feminist scholars to engage in a dialogue that can be understood. adherence to international treaties (especially those focused on human rights). Nachtwey. and Grant 1999) and to quantitatively assess the impact of a divergent type of public opin- ion on state behavior. In so doing. and so on? The possibilities are truly endless and can only add to our understanding of state behavior. the latter provides detail with limited applicability. Such a definition might lead to the following hypoth- esis: Are states that emphasize the elimination of violence and unjust social relations in their domestic and foreign policies more likely to cooperate international- lyFwith cooperation variously defined as involvement in international organiza- tions. Carol Cohn (1987). feminism envisages ‘‘a type of security that is global and multidimensional with political. thereby beginning to bridge the gap between feminist and traditional IR scholarship. and ecological facets that are as impor- tant as its military dimensions. In other words. as Charlotte Hooper (2001:10) suggests. In other words. aspects of this question have already been addressed in research (Caprioli and Boyer 2001.’’ Little justification exists for abandoning the liberal empiricists who reason that ‘‘the problem of developing better knowledge lies not with the scientific method itself but with the biases in the ways in which our theories have been focused and developed’’ (Tickner 2001:13). a common language is necessary to understand and be understood. states with higher levels of gender equality are more likely to support diplomacy and compromise (Tessler and Warriner 1997). Indeed. Caprioli and Trumbore 2003a. defines security as the elimination of all violence and unjust social relations and highlights the importance of cooperation and interdependence as well as stresses social con- cerns over military prowess. Caprioli 2003. Both draw upon the same feminist theories. An intriguing line of feminist research might involve combining methodologies to explain why women are found to be less likely than men to support the use of force (Nincic and Nincic 2002) in some studies and not in others (Tessler. exhibit lower .

women’s empowerment. (1988) Feminism. Feminist IR scholarship should include quantitative analyses and in the process facilitate building a diverse and more systematic research agenda. International Theory. Neofeminism would allow for an exam- ination of gender issues. must include more than an analysis of gender and that such inclusion does not constitute ‘‘adding gender and stirring’’ if built on solid feminist theory. BROWN. References BENERIA. thereby creating an inhospitable environment for the study of gender through their own challenge to ‘‘disciplinary boundaries and methods that. there seems to be a refocusing of IR scholarship away from the systemic level of analysis in favor of societal and state-level factors. Perhaps neofeminists would begin to bridge the artificial divide between con- ventional IR feminist scholars and IR scholars. AND REBECCA BLANK. This shift may take us to as yet uncharted intellectual and theoretical spaces that need not exclude feminist inquiry. In turn. Neofeminist scholars might also choose to enhance women’s empowerment using traditional IR theories and focusing on the state. in order to speak with a voice that is understood by those not defined as conventional feminist IR scholars. perhaps feminist scholars could benefit from including quantitative analyses. New York: Pergamon. Embracing Difference: Neofeminism It is important that scholars agree to disagree and to continue to justify different worldviews while at the same time accepting that scholarship based on multiple worldviews can enhance our capabilities for prediction and explanation. and are less likely to use force first during international conflict (Caprioli 2003). IR scholars share a similar goal as the feminists in trying to understand the in- ternational arena. they believe. Millennium 17:461–475. even assuming that a bias toward quantitative methodology exists within main- stream IR scholarship. edited by Joanna Kerr. After all. BROADBENT. EDWARD. impose limitations on the kinds of questions that can be asked and the ways in which they can be answered’’ (Tickner 2001:146). and International Relations of Gender In- equality. for example. It may be an appropriate time within the evolution of international relations to create a neofeminism that extends the scope of feminist IR scholarship and en- hances its explanatory capabilities in much the same way that neorealism extended realism without ignoring its basic tenets. . Feminist IR inquiry is not incompatible with empirical inquiry and. as was suggested in the examples above. As both Ray (2000) and Levy (2000) note. In Ours by Right: Women’s Rights as Human Rights. edited by Adrienne Harris and Ynestra King. NY: Zed Books. In Rocking the Ship of State: Towards a Feminist Peace Politics.266 Feminist IR Theory and Quantitative Methodology: A Critical Analysis levels of violence when involved in international disputes (Caprioli 2000) and in international crises (Caprioli and Boyer 2001). and biased in a way that is contrary to feminist claims of inclusion. (1989) Women and the Economics of Military Spending. (1985) Educating for Peace: A Feminist Perspective. LOURDES. neofeminist research would con- tinue to have a commitment to social justice and place an emphasis on women. using all different types of methodologies. Feminist IR scholars need to guard against imposing their own limitations on feminist IR scholarship. ultimately detrimental to the feminist goal of promoting social justice. Boulder: Westview. but it would discard the additional requirement of having ‘‘a critical/interpretive epis- temology’’ (Carpenter 2002:ftn. BIRGIT. BROCK-UTNE. Thus. 1) as too limiting. (1993) Getting Rid of Male Bias. and the role of gender and vi- olence at all levels of analysis. SARAH. Atlantic Highlands. And neofeminist research would recognize that complete models of conflict. can contribute to our knowledge about international relations in important ways.

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