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Edited by Simona Sharoni, Julia Welland, Linda Steiner and Jennifer Pedersen

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Paul Higate

Drawing on Judith Hicks Stiehm’s article ‘The protected, the protected, the defender’ and based on ethnographic field-research, this chapter considers the gendered and classed aspects of bodyguard/client interactions in a private security company in Kabul, Afghanistan. Foregrounding the ‘cat food run’ which refers to the request by one female client that her bodyguard drive her across the city to buy cat food for malnourished cats living on the compound where she was based, the chapter reveals some of the ways in which the narrative of risk and danger was negotiated between the two parties. This process of negotiation troubles the protector/protected binary where the former exercises power over the latter in a straightforward manner. Here, security expertise is usurped by the superior class position of the client such that the former military status of the bodyguard is treated with relative disdain to the annoyance of these alleged security experts. In summary, the chapter highlights how class and gender can confer authority on those whose safety is entrusted to others who, while embodying knowledge about risk and danger, are in the final analysis service providers in one particular element of the market for force.

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Ilene R. Feinman

This chapter asks US-based feminist antimilitarists to consider a new set of questions regarding the engagement of feminism as an organizing trope for peace activism. As personnel patterns and structures shift within the US military we need to address the meanings of females as perpetrators of classically masculinist violence and in broad leadership roles inclusive of leading militaries and state diplomatic missions at the nation-state level. If in fact dominance is a historically masculinist trope, is it always that, even when ‘alienated’ from males as such? Reading the ways in which current US-based and some international feminist peace organizations have evolved their discourse, the chapter notes that these movements have grown savvy analyses of militarism with attention to the particulars of region, race, ethnicity, gender and class status in a way that earlier movements were unable to fully engage. In part because of the proliferation of local-global organizations for females’ rights, there is a framework within which to place these expressions. The chapter concludes with a query regarding how we might consider the discourse of feminist peace activism in response to a world-wide military that is increasingly less reliant on mobilizing via masculinist tropes and structures.

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Dan Berkowitz and Qi Ling

News reporting of terrorism has long drawn on gender-specific mythical archetypes to tell the stories of women terrorists. This chapter explores four narratives of women terrorists that journalists adapted to make sense of social life and maintain gender order: the Woman Warrior, the Innocent Child, the Terrible Mother and the Female Monster. Most often, women terrorists are portrayed in terms of their physical appearance or family connections, and as motivated by love or gender equality. The mindset of these women terrorists tends to appear as either tougher than men or as bored, naive and out of touch with reality. Such mythical archetypes have not only supported existing gender values, but have also reinforced the central-marginal geopolitical order between the West and the non-West.

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Christopher Hills

This chapter is a critical reflection on the gendered experiences of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme implemented in post-conflict Liberia. The first of its kind to officially adopt recommendations present within UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the demilitarizing of Liberia’s fighting forces via DDR was still fraught with many of the pitfalls that earlier programmes elsewhere had faced. The chapter proceeds with a brief overview of the continuum of violence in conflict and post-conflict Liberia, before explaining some of the strengths and weaknesses of Liberia’s process of demilitarization. It concludes by questioning assumptions surrounding ‘tradition’ and ‘success’ and argues that a reflection on these two important terms remains a crucial part in breaking the chain of reintegration programme failures to women and girls on the continent.

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Victoria M. Basham

Feminists have long argued that gender has historically shaped and continues to shape who fights and dies, and in defence of whom. This chapter explores how state militaries continue to rely on gender constructs to motivate predominantly male soldiers to conduct acts of state sanctioned violence. It examines how gendered norms shape how militaries organize themselves and prepare for war, despite overwhelming evidence that the presence of women and sexual minorities has no discernible negative impact on military cohesion and performance and that soldiers do not need to bond socially in order to fight. It argues that militaries remain highly masculinized institutions because this is how militaries desire to see themselves and how most of their male members desire being seen. The masculinized character of military culture and identity thus remains significant; it facilitates war, even if it does not actually enable soldiers to kill and be killed.

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Laura J. Shepherd and Caitlin Hamilton

Despite the recognition among peacebuilding agencies of the need ‘to integrate a gender perspective’ into their operations, some scholars in the field of peace research and research on peacebuilding still tend to assume that peacebuilding activities are experienced similarly by all, irrespective of gender identity and performance. At the same time, a significant body of literature has developed that specifically engages with gendered logics and practices of peacebuilding. Scholarship on gender and conflict more broadly insists that to seek to understand the socio-political dynamics of war and peace without paying attention to gender is to construct a partial and thin account. Weaving together insights from a range of disciplinary perspectives (including Peace Studies, Development Studies, International Relations, Anthropology and Economics), these scholars remind us not only that the individuals involved in peace processes are embodied agential subjects, but also that the concepts deployed in policies aiming to facilitate peacebuilding, including ‘peace’ itself, are inherently gendered. We begin this chapter with an overview of the academic literature on gender and peacebuilding, before moving on to discuss the institutional architecture supporting gender-sensitive peacebuilding efforts. We conclude with some suggestions for future research in this area.

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Julia Welland

This chapter pays attention to the ways in which gender is rendered visible in the population-centric counterinsurgency environment of Afghanistan and how gender informs dominant representations and understandings of the conflict. Pointing first to the particular type of militarized masculinity required for the conducting of the ‘hearts and minds’ warfare of counterinsurgency, a ‘softer’ and ‘gentler’ soldier is visible, one who is distinct both from their previous warrior incarnations, and from the insurgent masculinities they are pitted against and the masculinities of the Afghan security forces they fight alongside. Secondly, the chapter reveals how the conduct of counterinsurgency requires a greater visibility of femininity, both physically in the bodies of women soldiers through the use of so-called ‘Female Engagement Teams’, and conceptually through the need for military personnel to demonstrate the ‘feminine’ emotions of compassion and concern. The chapter argues that this re-scripted militarized masculine identity and greater visibility of femininity are central to the claims that the long war in Afghanistan was one in which the population’s needs came first.

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Megan MacKenzie

With relatively recent discussions of the security/development nexus and the potential role of ‘failed’ states in spoiling international security, scholars in International Relations (IR) have paid greater attention to post-conflict security and development over the past decade. All too often, considerations of post-conflict security have largely ignored or overlooked gender. This chapter examines the relationship between gender and post-conflict security. It begins by raising questions about key concepts associated with post-conflict security, including ‘security’, ‘peace’, ‘reintegration’ and ‘the return to normal’. The chapter encourages readers to ask critical questions about the forms of gendered ordering that may take place in the name of ‘reconstruction’ and ‘rehabilitation’ as well as the types of gendered security issues that might arise during the post-conflict period. The chapter considers how gender is constructed both in war and in the post-war period and how this may impact the security of men, women, boys and girls. The chapter is grounded in the argument that a gendered approach to post-conflict security does not mean simply ‘looking for women’; rather, it requires an examination of how security itself is defined in relation to gender norms and identities.

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Simona Sharoni

Using the term ‘political violence’ instead of ‘war’ to address the Palestinian–Israeli conflict underscores the asymmetrical nature of the conflict. A gendered analysis of the conflict, informed by a feminist examination of power, privilege and structured inequalities, is essential to understanding patterns of resistance to political violence in the region. Covering a span of almost three decades, the chapter maps the history of gendered resistance to political violence in Palestine and Israel. It begins with the recognition that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict is a deep-rooted asymmetrical conflict between occupiers and occupied and not a war between two parties on an equal playing field. Using feminist intersectional analysis, the author demonstrates how the fundamental differences between the sociopolitical, cultural and economic contexts in Israel and Palestine have impacted the modes of gendered resistance to political violence deployed by people in both communities. By exposing gendered and sexualized violence as connected to the violent structures of the Israeli occupation, activists in Palestine and Israel have ensured that gender and other inequalities and oppressions are taken into account not only in volatile times but also when conflict resolution initiatives are discussed. At the same time, the failure of dialogue and protest to put an end to violence calls for new strategies of resistance. The Boycott, Divestment and Solidarity (BDS) movement has the potential to radically transform the modes of resistance to political violence in Israel, Palestine and globally. An example of feminist solidarity, the BDS movement provides a clear vision and manifold opportunities to people worldwide to confront Israeli apartheid in support of the struggle to bring about a just and lasting resolution of the conflict.