Special Issue: Gendering 'the international
MODEST WITNESSES: DONNA HARAWAY, SCIENCE, AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Andrew Barry
This paper examines the significance of the work of Donna Haraway in understanding the place of gender in international relations, focussing on her concern with the figure of the 'modest witness'. The paper makes three claims. First, that in analysing contemporary international relations a critical interrogation of science and technology should be absolutely central. Second, that an understanding of the gendered character of practices of witnessing and demonstration is of critical importance to an analysis of the politics of science and technology in international relations. Third, that the forms of witnessing associated with scientific and political demonstrations can be contrasted with regard to how they are differently constituted in terms of gender.
VISIONS OF GENDER AND DEMOCRACY: REVOLUTIONARY PHOTO ALBUMS IN ASIA William A. Callahan
Democracy has increasingly been an issue in international studies. Though we might take it for granted that we understand what 'democracy' means, East Asia problematises mainstream views of democracy by calling into question Anglo-American capitalism. Even after the economic crisis of 1997, the discourse of 'Asian Values', 'Communitarian Capitalism', and 'Asian Democracy' persists. Though the debate about the meaning of 'democracy' is characteristically framed in terms of a geopolitics of East vs. West, this article argues that it makes more sense when seen in terms of a struggle with patriarchy.
The first section looks at official views of 'Asian Democracy' which seek to counter Orientalist images that script 'Asia' as (submissive) 'feminine' in relation to a western (imperialist) masculine in an effort to reassert the patriarchy which has been problematised by capitalist modernity. The second section examines how activists script a different version of democracy in Asia through the popular culture of revolutionary photo albums which commemorate democratic movements in the Philippines (1986), Burma (1988), China (1989) and Thailand (1992).
This alternative discourse shifts genders to produce an activist feminine democracy. But these photo albums also suggest that concepts like 'authenticity' do not lead us to easy answers about social movements in Asia. Rather, such hybrid images are politically impious, and can help us to escape from the binaries of feminine/masculine, peace/war, and Orientalism/Occidentalism to a more productive view of politics.
GENDER AND IR: PROGRESS, BACKLASH, AND PROSPECT Fred Halliday
This article takes the opportunity provided by the 'Gender and International Studies: Looking Forward' conference: to assess the progress, or lack of it, over the past decade; and, at the same time, to identify where, in the light of this record and of the theoretical and practical issues facing us, the subject of 'gender and IR' may develop. Inevitably the article reflects a mixed judgement - a recognition of changes both positive and negative.
The article initiates its assessment by looking at gender and Ir in the three concentric circles within which any academic subject is located: its disciplinary record, the broader context of the social sciences, and developments in the outside world. Within the discipline there has been a substantial growth of courses, research, and publishing, with a discernible shift from 'women and IR' to 'gender and IR'. Within the social sciences as a whole, there has been a massive supportive growth in cognate areas. In the outside world there have been contradictory developments: on the one hand, there have been significant advances in regard to the policies of international institutions, refugees, violence against women, etc.
On the other hand, the collapse of public commitments to women's equality in the former communist states, the incidence of rape in war and civil conflicts, the diffusion of mediatic and Internet sexism, and an ideological anti-feminist backlash in both developed and developing countries have produced an international climate more unfavourable to gender issues than a decade before. That is why the study of this gendered inequality, not least in its international and transnational dimensions, should be a central concern of contemporary social science. That was the challenge set a decade ago and it remains equally pertinent today.
(UNI)FORM INSTRUMENTALITIES AND WAR'S ABJECT Vivienne Jabri
Conventionally in International Relations thought war is seen in instrumentalist terms, and in a reduction of Clausewitz's project, as merely the extension of (foreign) policy through other means. The ontological commitment that is the mainstay of this project is often unrecognised; a discursive commitment that war constructs masculinity, conceived in (uni)form terms, that through such construction, a nation emerges, separate, distinct, and sovereign. The paper argues that these seemingly unconnected themes which emerge from discourses on war are intimately related, that instrumentality is a commitment to a coherent and certain subjectivity, and that it is this commitment which produces the 'abject': targets of war, reviled on the one hand, and much needed for the continual structuration of war on the other.
MIGRATION, (IM)MOBILITY, AND MODERNITY: TOWARD A FEMINIST UNDERSTANDING OF THE 'GLOBAL' PROSTITUTION SCENE IN AMSTERDAM Marianne H. Marchand, Julian Reid, and Boukje Berents
This article sets out to examine the connections among global restructuring/ globalisation, prostitution, and migration. It argues that global restructuring has produced a crisis in the categories and boundaries that define modernity and constitute the modern subject. On the one hand, we see the emergence of a global economy of desire, which is blurring the boundaries between the realms of desire and economics. On the other hand, the de-centering of modernity is accompanied by the emergence of a hypermodern subjectivity. This article explores the pervasive effects of the restructuring process upon the prostitution industry in the global city of Amsterdam (as a spatial actualisation of the global economy of desire). The research focusses particularly upon effects of restructuring on the identities of women working in prostitution, elucidating the (discursively) racial and gendered constructs of the hypermodern, which are (re)producing and reinforcing stratifications and hierarchies between native (Dutch) and migrant prostitutes.
FROM EXPORT PROCESSING ZONES TO EROGENOUS ZONES: INTERNATIONAL DISCOURSES ON WOMEN'S WORK IN THAILAND Ruth Pearson and Sally Theobald
This paper explores the ways in which accounts of women's work in the literature on gender and globalisation are prone to conflation and eroticisation. Whilst the significance of the internationalisation of sexual services and trafficking in women is fully acknowledged, the authors illustrate the tendency for discussions of women's factory work to be conflated with sex work, to the extent that the former is often rendered invisible by the latter.
Using the examples of the discourses about the sexualisation of Thai women, they argue that analyses of both academic publications and more popular discussions in the media have had negative and contradictory repercussions for different groups of women in Thailand. They present evidence of negative perceptions of Thai women travelling outside Thailand, either physically or through participation in discussion groups in cyberspace. Secondly, drawing on experience of working with women workers in the electronics factories in the North of Thailand who are trying to organise around working conditions and occupational health and safety issues they argue that the over-riding views of Thai women as primarily sexual beings within the global economy have been problematic in terms of women workers having their voices heard, and thus, much less being able to organise in defence of their interests.
Utilising a gender analysis lens the article argues that gender interests of women are constructed with and through sexuality, but are not reducible to it.
DECONSTRUCTING TRAFFICKING IN WOMEN: THE EXAMPLE OF RUSSIA Francine Pickup
This article outlines the development and codification of perspectives on the issue of trafficking in women, and how these perspectives have fed into different policies today. It provides examples of responses by international organisations and political groupings to trafficking as an issue of organised crime, illegal migration, and prostitution. By outlining the various approaches of three prominent feminist groups working on the issue, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, The Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, and the Women's Rights Advocacy Program - the article considers questions about whether it is possible to separate out trafficking and prostitution, trafficking, and migration.
It examines what poststructuralist feminist development studies and anthropological tools of analysis can contribute to our understanding of these unanswered questions. Using young women in Russia as an illustrative example, it argues, first, that the trafficking notion hinges on the problematic assumptions of 'choice' and suggests alternative ways of understanding women's agency in the trafficking process. Second, it considers the anthropological arguments that question the difference of sex-work from other forms of work and points to the cultural specificity in the significance attached to the women's body as property and as a site for cultural contestation.
To conclude, the article suggests that development policy makers and practitioners need to engage with human rights activists in order to view trafficking holistically as a cycle that begins before women leave the country of origin, encompasses their experiences in the host country, and continues after their return.
THE CRISIS OF REASON, THE RATIONALIST MARKET, AND GLOBAL ECOLOGY Val Plumwood
This article argues that the continuing global cultural hegemony of Euro-American Christianic civilisation signals the triumph of its dominant concept of reason, as expressed in the global rationalist economy. Capitalism envisages the economy it is shaping as the ultimately rational form of human life, and seeks to impose it everywhere via the globalisation of the rationalist market model. This is to be accomplished via the institutions and treaties that are increasingly empowered to structure local economies to conform with the supporting ideology of economic rationalism. Among the leading features of an economic rationalist order created via the universalisation of this model are a narrow definition of economic life in terms of a rational calculus of maximising self-interest and the privileging of this economic order over other forms and spheres of human life, as ultimately the most rational form and arbiter of other forms.
This article reflects on where this model has come from and what it represents. It discusses the rationalist cultural background of this model and addresses the question: can the global environment possibly survive the victory of this model, or more generally, what is now considered reason? The article argues that our contemporary economic rationalist model has significant parallels to older systems of hegemonic rationalism developed in the west, so that the terminology of rationalism is in these respects illuminating and can help us understand the workings of the modern global market economy as a hegemonic system. The terminology of rationalism can also help us to understand its irrationalities and blindspots, which are already pushing us beyond the limits of ecological safety.
MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN IN INDIA: A RESEARCH NOTE Jeremy Seabrook
This research note arises out of the practical work of Anjali Gopalan and the staff of NAZ India, a sexual health project for men and women, concerned with halting the spread of the HIV virus in India, focussing particularly on the largely unresearched area of men who have sex with men. Western models of male-to-male sex are simply not applicable in South Asia, and a more comprehensive and imaginative understanding of the structuring of such relationships is essential if any headway is to be made in limiting the extent of HIV infection.
The research note conveys men's stories and experiences to show that male-to-male contact and its ramifications remain largely unexplored. India has yet to concede the gravity of the present situation or, even if the seriousness is admitted, the prevention and prophylactic measures against HIV are not in place. The note aims to illustrate the inappropriateness of the Western paradigm and the assumptions emanating from the West that it is an issue of gay rights, gay identity, homosexuality, bisexuality. These categories do not apply to the vast majority of men in India, except to a small minority of those influenced by Western education and culture. Campaigns and awareness programmes targeted at these groups will leave 90 per cent of the country untouched.
GENDERING CONFLICT AND PEACE IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE AND THE NORTH OF IRELAND Simona Sharoni
This article examines whether peace is more conducive to gender equality than overt conflict. Towards this end, it highlights transformations in gender identities, roles, and relationships during the early years of the intifada in Israel/Palestine and the troubles in the North of Ireland as well as during the aftermath of the Oslo Accords and the Good Friday Agreement. The paper concludes that a gender-sensitive analysis is central to the process of envisioning a post conflict-society and working towards the realisation of such a vision.
GENDER AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
The article opens with an analysis of Area Studies, its relationship to Oriental Studies and International Studies in Britain and recommends a disciplinary shake-up in the wake of the Cold War. Comparative Literature can lose its European focus and Cultural Studies their metropolitan focus if they use and transform the resources developed by Area Studies under the impetus of the National Defense Education Act in the United States (1958). In this area, the imperatives of the gender struggle and Queer Studies can be taken on board. Among the poorest in the Southern hemisphere, however, the resources of neither global feminism nor oral history are enough.
Drawing on experience with Indian Aboriginals, the article distinguishes between agent and subject. In the area of agency, the agenda is to work for the Aboriginals' access to the disciplines. In the arena of the subject, facing centuries of neglect, the essay recommends the patience of poiesis or imaginative (re)construction, rather than the impatience of a 'gender training' that implicitly takes the history of the Euro-US as model. Using this bifocal approach, the last part of the essay touches on three examples of cross-dressing, emphasising their hetereogeneity: two pieces by the Arab-American artist Yasmina Bouziane, a photograph of the late nineteenth/early twentieth-century Indian actor Binodini Dasi cross-dressed as a male-impersonating female character; the inspiration coming from Cindy Sherman and Shakespeare respectively.
And, finally, a photograph of an anonymous cross-dressed male Aboriginal who signals toward the 'bhakti' /sufi tradition that questioned religious orthodoxy by men affecting women. Since the author is a literary critic, the essay closes with an example of poiesis, - requiring imaginative interpretation - whereby the distance between the diffidence on the face of this Aboriginal and the pout on the face of Sharon Bell in Whore Carnival is named 'Globality'.
PROSTITUTED FILIPINAS AND THE CRISIS OF PHILIPPINE CULTURE Neferti Xina M. Tadiar
Nationalist discourses in the Philippines have generally portrayed Filipina women as symptoms of the continuing crisis of national culture brought about by globalization. Prostituted Filipinas, in particular, are viewed as the symbolic expressions of the general prostitution of the nation sponsored by the Marcos regime. The article argues that the 'prostitution' of the Philippines stems from its role as a provider of global labour and the historical tendency of labour towards 'feminisation'. The gendered and sexualised symbolic operations at work in the construction of the category of universal labour are also at work in the social logic of cooperation which increasingly produces women as labour.
However, prostituted Filipinas are not only products produced by the prevailing logic of social cooperation for capitalist exchange, they are also producers. There is a dimension of their existence as labour which exceeds their objectification for and by capital, and it is by looking at this experiential activity that we can recognise the productive power of prostituted Filipinas. Through a reading of a short story by Fanny Garcia, this article shows the 'syncretic sociability' engaged in by Filipinas which contributes to their 'feminisation' and 'commodification' (that is, prostitution) within and outside of their communities, as well as the deployment of this experiential activity as a means of exercising and releasing their transformative subjective potential.
WHERE IS WOMAN IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS? 'TO RETURN AS A WOMAN AND BE HEARD' Marysia Zalewski
This article poses the question, 'where is woman in International Relations?' Inspired by the tenth anniversary of the formal introduction of feminism into IR, this question leads to a perusal of the varied ways in which the category of woman has been and is positioned within some of the traditional and contemporary theories of International Relations. Although it might convincingly be claimed that the debate in this area has moved 'beyond woman' and 'into gender', it nevertheless seems to be the case that the category of woman is frequently returned to within these theories.
It suggests that a secure position for woman is constantly sought within IR and one effect of this is that woman is regularly positioned as 'before the beyond' - with the beyond being gender. It goes on to look at some of the mechanisms or logics at work in the discourses of International Relations which encourage such constructions of female identity. It does this, in part, by invoking some of the ideas of Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler to gesture towards ways to think differently about the implications and possibilities of a desire articulated by fourteenth century poet and writer, Christine de Pisan, to 'return as a woman and be heard'.