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Do we need feminist theory in International Relations? If so why?

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Jean-Baptiste B.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Feminists and their critical position against main theories of world politics
  3. Understanding the feminist theory's main assumptions
    1. A post positivist theory
    2. The feminist theory and the issue of peace and justice
  4. Common assumptions and claims related to the will of making women visible in the public space
  5. A third version of feminist theory
  6. Range of feminist approaches of the discipline of IR
    1. The appearance of feminist theories in the realm of IR
    2. The main critics of the feminists against mainstream understandings of IR
  7. Conclusion
  8. Refrences

Feminism is a critical social and political movement who first emerged at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth with women's claims of equal rights in society and in the political sphere, with the right of vote. But now, since approximately the end of the 1980's, feminist theories have begun to appear in the realm of international relations underlying the fact that 'IR is one of the most masculinists of disciplines in its personnel and its understanding of states, wars and markets' . Therefore, they focus not only on the position of women but also on the notion of gender arguing that today's perception of worlds politic is distorted by a 'gender-lens' which perpetuates a system were men are advantaged. But can these feminist approaches be relevant in the study of world politics? Do they provide effective explanations on current international relation's key issues and notions such are state, war or peace?

[...] Feminist theory is, thus, a post-positivist theory who tries to show how the power of gender as a value and valuing system, has kept women in a marginalized, subordinated, invisible position. 'Feminists thus reveal how women, activities associated with women, and/or constructs, identities, practices, and institutions associated with femininity are rendered invisible by IR's preoccupation with men and masculinities activities' . Therefore, feminists try to explain several issues and key notions of world politics in an alternative way. First of all, they argue that men and women's experience of the state are totally different and that state power ought to be explained through the constant exclusion of women from it. [...]


[...] Furthermore, another criticism that can be made against the introduction of feminist theory in the study of world politics is the fact that it remains an elitist thinking that only suits for academic researches and do not apply to the field of actions. This is particularly due, among other things, to a very specific range of ideas and vocabulary. Thus, ironically, one of the main critics of the feminists against mainstream understandings of IR is also use against them. Indeed, feminist theory denounces the ways in which the tool of language is used to serve a gendered way of looking at world affairs, but the concepts feminist scholars are using and how they express them is such complicated that it is difficult to understand for who is not first a feminist. [...]


[...] Moreover, although feminist theory has provided relevant criticisms on the way IR are studied it never succeeded in exposing its own clear agenda in this realm, like it has been able to do when 4 considering the area of sociology and domestic affairs of states. (2619 words) REFERENCES Enloe, Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics, (London: Pandora, 1989) Kehoane, Beyond Dichotomy: Conversation between International Relations and Feminist Theory, International Studies Quarterly (1998) Lips, H.M, Women, Men and Power (Mayfield Publishing Co, 1991) Morgenthau, H.J Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Fifth Edition, Revised, (New York: Alfred A. [...]

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