Arguing gender and international relations: a dialectical-hermeneutical approach
Feminist theorizing in International Relations (IR) has been inspired by the recognition that “international relations is a man’s world, a world of power and conflict in which warfare is a privileged activity” (Tickner 1988: 429). Hồ Xuân Hu’o’ng, the eighteenth century Vietnamese woman poet who is the protagonist of L.H.M. Ling’s chapter, would agree. In reaction to this realization, early feminists in IR built a research program “finding women in places not normally considered within the boundaries of IR, … [and] attempting to redefine some of the core concepts of the field such as security, anarchy, and sovereignty’’ (Tickner 2010: 2). In Betty Reardon’s definition, “feminism is the belief that women are of equal social and human value with men, and that the differences between men and women, whether biologically-based or culturally derived, do not and should not constitute grounds for discrimination against women” (Reardon 1985: 20). With this mission, feminist IR scholars have engaged in research journeys of observation, critique, reformulation, and reflexivity, looking to bring the gendered nature of IR’s texts to light and to “move the suspicion of officially ungendered IR texts to their subversion and replace their theories” (Sylvester 1992).