Gender, War, and Militarism: Feminist Perspectives

Gender, War, and Militarism: Feminist Perspectives

Gender, War, and Militarism: Feminist Perspectives

Gender, War, and Militarism: Feminist Perspectives


This compelling, interdisciplinary compilation of essays documents the extensive, intersubjective relationships between gender, war, and militarism in 21st-century global politics.

Feminist scholars have long contended that war and militarism are fundamentally gendered. Gender, War, and Militarism: Feminist Perspectives provides empirical evidence, theoretical innovation, and interdisciplinary conversation on the topic, while explicitly—and uniquely—considering the links between gender, war, and militarism. Essentially an interdisciplinary conversation between scholars studying gender in political science, anthropology, and sociology, the essays here all turn their attention to the same questions. How are war and militarism gendered?

Seventeen innovative explanations of different intersections of the gendering of global politics and global conflict examine the theoretical relationship between gender, militarization, and security; the deployment of gender and sexuality in times of conflict; sexual violence in war and conflict; post-conflict reconstruction; and gender and militarism in media and literary accounts of war. Together, these essays make a coherent argument that reveals that, although it takes different forms, gendering is a constant feature of 21st-century militarism.


“Feminist perspectives.” It’s so easy to say but so hard to create. Laura Sjoberg and Sandra Via have managed to bring together in this one volume an amazingly diverse collection of investigatory writers who do just that: they consciously fashion a feminist lens through which to dissect, explain, and critique—all three—the political workings of masculinities and femininities in war zones, in military institutions, and in militarized cultures in prewar, wartime, and post-war eras.

Adopting an explicitly feminist perspective is not the same as choosing to look at something from a gender perspective. Certainly there is substantial overlap, but they are not coterminous. Sometimes a lot of us describe our analytical exploratory approach as from a “gender perspective” because, we imagine, that sounds to many of our listeners and readers less frightening, less radical, less political than from a “feminist perspective.” After all, we want to be heard, we want to be taken seriously, so we don’t want our potential listeners and readers to run in the other direction (or to avoid our conference panels, or never assign our articles, or deem us unworthy for tenure, or …). Substituting “gender” for “feminist” doesn’t seem cowardly; it just seems prudent. And then, too, there are those occasions when we really are not aiming to fashion a feminist analysis. Creating a gender analysis can itself seem hard enough.

For gender, of course, is not always on everyone’s mind. Nor is it something a lot of people want to consider. As these smart contributors show us, some of the most well-meaning people can forget about the daily workings of masculinity and femininity. Getting journalists, legislators, drill sergeants, human rights activists, and our academic colleagues to . . .

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