chapter  1
16 Pages

Introduction

Making Gender, Making War
ByAnnica Kronsell, Erika Svedberg

After some 30 years of intense, curiosity-driven research and writings, leading feminist scholars maintain that we are only beginning to make sense of the complexity of gender in international relations (IR) (Hutchings et al. 2008). We have begun to unravel the seemingly simple question of what gender is, or means. Understanding gender as perhaps the most central social institution in the life of humans, a practice that constructs and reconstructs power relations throughout the centuries, remains central to feminist work in IR. Ontologically speaking, the authors of this volume come from a constructivist outlook on gender. We see gender being made and remade through the practices of individuals, organizations, militaries and states. The making of gender is always part and parcel of what has been called patriarchy, the gender-power system or gender order. Thus, the making of gender implies that gender is an organizing principle for social life. Laura Sjoberg argues, ‘Feminists see gender subordination as constitutive of the global political world’ (2009b: 205). Gender sensitivity is an outlook not necessarily shared by other constructivist or critical theoretical approaches.