The 'Man' Question in International Relations

By Marysia Zalewski; Jane Parpart | Go to book overview
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Six Masculine Roles in International Relations and Their Interconnection: A Personal Investigation

Craig N. Murphy

This chapter began with a puzzle about why many of the male scholars in international relations who are sympathetic to feminist studies of gender and international affairs, men who even lend such studies institutional support and who certainly have learned a great deal from them, nonetheless do not put the study of gender at the center of their own research programs (although see Murphy 1996). They often remain consumers rather than producers of scholarship on gender in international affairs. The question is a personal one; I am part of that group. As a consequence, part of my research for this chapter involved thinking about my own motivations and rummaging through my own experience of gender and international affairs. That reflection, in turn, has given me some tentative ideas about gender and power in world politics that I report here. I probably could have begun to answer my original question simply by building on Nancy Hartsock's ( 1990) analogy to Albert Memmi's ( 1967) analysis of "the colonizers who refuse" and then find that their lives become "a long series of adjustments" until they fully recognize their own complicity in the unequal social order and leave the colony. However, gender relations and colonial relations differ enough that a simple analogy to Memmi's endpoint seems inappropriate. Instead of disengagement, male scholars sympathetic to feminist analysis can expect a path of "adjustments" that eventually brings them to place gender in a more central position in their own work.

This tentative attempt to bring gender into my own analysis begins with an outline of a variety of fundamentally different "masculine" roles played in international affairs, including some that are examples of the sort of "devalued masculinities" that Ann Tickner ( 1992, 63-64, 139-140) argues


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The 'Man' Question in International Relations


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