Gender in International Relations Essay

Gender in International Relations Essay

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Does A Gendered Approach Give Us A Significantly Different Understanding Of International Relations?


By the late 1980s, academic scholars in the field of International Relations began to investigate how gender affected International Relations theory and practice. Gender is significant in International Relations because they are ‘essential to understanding the world ‘we’ live in’ (Young, 2004:75). One must emphasise on the term, ‘we’ (Young, 2004:75) as allusions of a world where men and women live in unison and that they shape the world we live in today together. But in the modern world, international politics is perceived to be ‘a man’s world’ (Tickner, 1992:6). This implication questions the realm of international politics; does the fact that international politics is dominated by men make a difference? In 1952, Simone de Beauvoir understood that the ‘representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confused with the absolute truth’ (Bart, 1998). This further emphasises that that a gendered approach could give us a significantly different understanding of International Relations. The world we live in today has been the ‘work of men’ and as a result, one may question how different the world would be, had it been the work of women. Beauvoir claims have been the ‘major underlying assumption’ (Bart, 1998) in the emergence of feminist theory since the 1970s. This type of feminist theory deals with questions of knowledge, mentioned as feminist epistemology. It is thought that the feminist perspective on the scope of International Relations are founded on ontologies and epistemologies that are dissimilar from the traditional discipline (Tickner, 1997)...


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...w of International Studies, 22(4), pp. 405-429.
7. Linklater, A., 2004. Dominant and Destructive Masculinities. International Affairs, 80(01), pp. 89-97.
8. Steans, J., 1998. Gender in International Relations: An Introduction. Cambridge: Polity Press.
9. Tannen, D., 1990. You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. New York: William Morrow.
10. Tickner, J. A., 1992. Gender in International Relations: Feminist Perspectives on Achieving Global Security, New York: Columbia University Press.
11. Tickner, J. A., 1997. You just don’t understand: troubled engagements between feminists and IR theorists. International Studies Quarterly, 41(4), pp. 611-632.
12. Young, G., 2004. Feminist International Relations: A Contradiction in Terms? Or Why Women and Gender Are Essential To Understanding The World 'We' Live In. International Affairs, 80(1), pp. 75-87.

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