International Handbooks on Gender series
Edited by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe
Chapter 5: Poststructuralist feminism in world politics
It is difficult to engage in the study of gender in world politics without coming across and even adopting some aspects of poststructuralist feminist thought. Most feminist scholars of world politics understand gender to be not only produced through social, political, and economic relations, but also productive of such relations. Studying gender in world politics can entail paying attention to women and girls, and boys and men, as ‘women’ and ‘girls’, and ‘boys’ and ‘men’: to their experiences, identities, actions, and the ways that they are represented, as well as how they resist dominant representations and concrete practices. It can also entail paying attention to the work that gender does in producing what we know of as ‘world politics’ and the subjects of such politics, as well as much more (see Chapter 54, this volume). Poststructural feminist approaches are varied, spanning a whole range of subfields within world politics. Indeed, we should be wary of any attempt (including this one) at defining a field of study: invariably, the resulting picture will contain many gaps, and be constituted by what is excluded as well as what is included. In this chapter, I draw on my own feminist research, as well as that of others, both in explaining poststructuralism more generally and in outlining some poststructuralist feminist (PF) approaches.
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