The 'Man' Question in International Relations

By Marysia Zalewski; Jane Parpart | Go to book overview

3
"Unacceptable Conclusions" and the "Man" Question: Masculinity, Gender, and International Relations

Steve Smith

Just as this book has had a number of titles, so has this chapter, and these too reflect the development of my thinking about the topic since the original invitation to write this piece. Indeed, little of the first draft, presented at the ISA conference in Acapulco, now survives. The major difference has been that having thought, read, and discussed more, I now want to focus much more on masculinity as a social construction. In writing my original paper, I spent quite a lot of time on the relevance of gender (in effect defined as women) for international relations and then looked at the backlash against feminist work. I concluded with some, frankly, patronizing comments about the problems of gender for feminists (mainly to do with the essentialism of standpoint positions). My concern now is to raise three issues. First, I want to discuss the backlash against feminism precisely because I think it has become even more marked since I wrote the first draft. Second, I want to move on to look at masculinity and international relations, specifically focusing on the issues raised in the introduction about the relationship between masculinity (ies) and the ways in which both the practice of international relations and the discipline of international relations (IR) rely on and support specific forms of masculinity. Finally, I want to try and link this chapter with my developing thinking about social and international theory.

I want to say something about the politics of writing this chapter for exactly the reasons raised in the introduction. My original paper engaged in some (typically) liberal handwringing about writing from a position of male

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