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Gender, Violence, and Human Security

Gender, Violence, and Human Security: Critical Feminist Perspectives

Aili Mari Tripp
Myra Marx Ferree
Christina Ewig
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Gender, Violence, and Human Security
    Book Description:

    The nature of human security is changing globally: interstate conflict and even intrastate conflict may be diminishing worldwide, yet threats to individuals and communities persist. Large-scale violence by formal and informal armed forces intersects with interpersonal and domestic forms of violence in mutually reinforcing ways. Gender, Violence, and Human Security takes a critical look at notions of human security and violence through a feminist lens, drawing on both theoretical perspectives and empirical examinations through case studies from a variety of contexts around the globe. This fascinating volume goes beyond existing feminist international relations engagements with security studies to identify not only limitations of the human security approach, but also possible synergies between feminist and human security approaches. Noted scholars Aili Mari Tripp, Myra Marx Ferree, and Christina Ewig, along with their distinguished group of contributors, analyze specific case studies from around the globe, ranging from post-conflict security in Croatia to the relationship between state policy and gender-based crime in the United States. Shifting the focus of the term human security from its defensive emphasis to a more proactive notion of peace, the book ultimately calls for addressing the structural issues that give rise to violence. A hard-hitting critique of the ways in which global inequalities are often overlooked by human security theorists, Gender, Violence, and Human Security presents a much-needed intervention into the study of power relations throughout the world.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-7013-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)

    • 1 Toward a Gender Perspective on Human Security
      (pp. 3-32)

      One of the major successes of international feminism in the mid-1990s was to transform the human rights discourse from a gender-neutral frame into one that acknowledged that “women’s rights are human rights” (Agosin 2001; Cook 1994; Peters and Wolper 1994). Today, the United Nations and many other international actors and national governments around the globe, including Canada, Norway, Japan, and the United States, have adopted the concept of “human security” in their policymaking. In fact, human security has become the dominant frame for international regulation today. It allows diverse actors from the North and South, governmental and nongovernmental sectors, and...

    • 2 What Does Postconflict Security Mean for Women?
      (pp. 33-49)

      Security is a concept with significant impact on and a practical relationship with the postconflict environment.² Security or its absence in postconflict societies deeply and unrelentingly affects women’s daily lives. As this essay will explore, women are consistently excluded from decision making related to the security of their environment, their bodies, and their lives in postconflict societies. Gender-based exclusions from security discourses and practices are not unusual or unique. The absence of a gender dimension in the establishment, revision, and operation of new legal and political institutions in postconflict societies has been generally acknowledged (Bell et al. 2004). What is...

    • 3 Gendering Insecurities, Informalization, and “War Economies”
      (pp. 50-76)

      David Roberts (2008) observes that defining human security is more contentious than defining humaninsecurity (also Burke 2007). Like many others, Roberts draws on diverse literatures referencing institutional, indirect, or structural violence to generate a definition ofinsecurity as “avoidable civilian deaths, occurring globally, caused by social, political and economic institutions and structures, built and operated by humans and which could feasibly be changed” (2008, 28). Indirect or structural violence refers to the presumably unintended but recurring patterns of suffering or harm that result from the way social institutions or structures “order” expectations, norms, and practices.¹ “War” is arguably a...


    • 4 Securitizing Sex, Bodies, and Borders: The Resonance of Human Security Frames in Thailand’s “War against Human Trafficking”
      (pp. 79-108)

      Since the late 1990s human trafficking has moved from the margins to the mainstream of international politics. Driven by prominent—and graphic—stories of exploitation, sexual suffering, and violence against women, a wide range of actors have taken steps to combat the trafficking of persons. These actors include transnational and domestic women’s advocacy groups, migrants’ rights organizations, international organizations, and state institutions such as police, courts, and immigration and social welfare agencies. Although ostensibly designed to protect innocent victims, their efforts to combat human trafficking are implemented within political spaces that include other dominant institutions that can radically alter the...

    • 5 Work and Love in the Gendered U.S. Insecurity State
      (pp. 109-131)

      Conventional wisdom in the United States considers poverty in two ways (O’Connor 2001). The morally acceptable form of poverty is a temporary condition caused by circumstances beyond the individual’s control. In this view, people are poor due to lack of income in old age after a lifetime of hard work, because of reduced earnings caused by a physical disability from a work-related injury, when they survive the death of a breadwinning man, or as a result of unemployment rooted in large-scale shifts in the economy, recession, competition from immigrants, or unfair trade policy and practices. These people are all considered...

    • 6 A Struggle for Rites: Masculinity, Violence, and Livelihoods in Karamoja, Uganda
      (pp. 132-162)

      A group of young men in the district of Nakapiripirit in northeastern Uganda sit under a tree and talk about their lives and the challenges of recent years. We discuss the repeated years of drought, the health of their animals, the abuse suffered at the hands of the military, and the lack of economic options as their predominately livestock-based livelihood system has eroded. These are commonplace conversations in this area, and the young men are relaxed and languid. We segue to the topic of insecurity and the pervasive violence in the region, violence that is usually carried out by young...

    • 7 From German Bus Stop to Academy Award Nomination: The Honor Killing as Simulacrum
      (pp. 163-188)

      In the past few years, honor crimes have become a global cause célèbre among activists and scholars concerned about the rights and security of Muslim women. Headlines like “The Rise of Honor Killings in America” (Frank 2011) and “Ehrenmorde: Warum Töchter für die Ehre sterben müssen” (Honor Killing: Why Daughters Must Die for Honor) (Pagel 2011) proliferate across Europe and North America. No one can argue against the importance of protecting victims of domestic violence. But the transnational media frenzy about “honor killing” is a distinct phenomenon that must be examined in its own right, especially when right wing anti-Muslim...


    • 8 Feminist Collaboration with the State in Response to Sexual Violence: Lessons from the American Experience
      (pp. 191-213)

      The history of feminist activism against sexual violence in the United States provides an important lesson about counterproductive law reform and unintended consequences. Many of the hallmarks of the American approach to addressing rape and domestic violence, such as mandatory arrest and prosecution, public health surveillance, and shelter-based services, lack efficacy as well as presenting significant threats to women’s autonomy. The problems arising from these approaches are closely tied to the way feminists conceived of the problem and to the state’s responsibility in addressing it. Examining the challenges facing movements against rape and domestic violence provides lessons for future efforts...

    • 9 The Vulnerable Protecting the Vulnerable: NGOs and Human Security in the Aftermath of War
      (pp. 214-237)

      War leaves a large footprint. Even after negotiations are concluded and treaties have been signed, war-torn societies do not return to “normal.” War leaves long-term legacies: refugees, internally displaced people, homelessness, death, disability, and economic, social, and psychological trauma. There are deeper social problems as well: lingering ethnic and nationalist tensions, threats to and abuse of minorities, demonization of and threats against state critics, and social unrest caused by lingering problems of displacement and economic disruption. Despite these widespread human-scale problems, both the international actors involved in postconflict reconstruction (PCR) and the academics who study PCR focus their attention on...

    • 10 Violence against Women, Human Security, and Human Rights of Women and Girls: Reinforced Obligations in the Context of Structural Vulnerability
      (pp. 238-259)

      It has become increasingly clear that women are often the ones most victimized by violence in times of armed conflict: they are the majority of civilian deaths, the majority of refugees, and are often targeted for cruel and degrading practices, such as rape. However, women’s basic well-being is also severely threatened in daily life by unequal access to resources, services, and opportunities, not to mention the many forms of violence women experience under “ordinary circumstances.” By making the security and basic well-being of persons its main concern, the concept ofhuman securityis able to capture this broader range of...

    • 11 Integrating Gender into Human Security: Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission
      (pp. 260-282)

      Peru’s more than decade-long conflict between the government and guerrilla insurgencies in the 1980s and 1990s was emblematic of a human security crisis. This was not a conventional interstate war; it was a civil conflict. A conflict rooted in preexisting human insecurities of poverty and inequality, Peru’s war fed on these insecurities, and created even broader and deeper human insecurities. Notable were its gendered dimensions: preexisting gendered insecurities in which poor women were among the most vulnerable to hunger and violence were exacerbated by the conflict, while gendered insecurities such as systematic rape in the context of war were introduced....


    • 12 The Discursive Politics of Gendering Human Security: Beyond the Binaries
      (pp. 285-308)

      This book has shown the concept of human security to be a catch-all term. Sometimes it stresses freedom from fear of violence, both interpersonal and militarized, and sometimes freedom from want in the sense of combatting the starvation and disease that kill more people worldwide than guns do. Sometimes it is used to legitimate and encourage police actions, both within local communities and by powerful states across national borders, as in U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. But at other times it is used to hold states accountable for their militarized drug and sex politics, ethnic repressions, and clashes over...

    (pp. 309-314)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 315-328)