IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Using gender to analyze conflicts

One wonders why this has been so neglected to date.
What Can Applying a Gender Lens Contribute to Conflict Studies?
It is rare to find gender a specific focus of scholarship on conflict studies except when produced by scholars who habitually use a gender analytical lens. This is presumably because for a large number of researchers working on conflict, gender is seen as either an irrelevance or a minority issue. This no doubt stems in great part from the unfortunate conflation of women and gender in a world in which females and their affairs continue to be seriously undervalued, particularly those from the global south. 

However, it perhaps also arises from an (unarticulated and probably unconscious) fear of what a well-aimed view through a gender analytical lens might expose both of men and masculinities and of the internal workings of global power relations. This is unfortunate since, as Cynthia Enloe has repeatedly demonstrated, gender is fundamental to politics and as she and other scholars have further shown, it is inseparable from conflict, from decisions taken in the White House and the Pentagon on down to the grass-roots level of individuals deciding whether or not to participate in riots or civil wars.

new MICROCON Working Paper published today, written by Colette Harris, aims to illustrate how gender can be used at different conceptual levels in conflict analysis, and aims to show what can be gained by the use of a gender lens. It supports Enloe’s insistence that those seeking an in-depth understanding of the social and political world require a feminist curiosity – that is, a curiosity about the roles gender categories play in political debate and action, as well as in scholarship.

You can download the paper here: http://www.microconflict.eu/publications/RWP41_CH.pdf.


March 10, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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