International Handbooks on Gender series
Edited by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe
Chapter 35: Gender, peace activism and anti-militarisation
What are the parameters of war and peace in the current era? The global scene has changed dramatically since the 1960s when Johan Galtung (1964) introduced the contrast of ‘negative peace’ – in effect, a lack of overt armed conflict – as counter-posed against his vision of ‘positive peace’. In broad terms, this vision of positive peace is now often summarised as ‘peace with justice’. In the decades following the end of the Cold War, both academic and policy-oriented literature became focused on what were claimed to be the characteristics of ‘new wars’. More recently still, an understanding of what represents ‘peace’ has needed to engage with the fallout from the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and with turmoil in the Middle East. These shifting boundaries of war and peace thus constitute a challenge for feminist scholarship in global politics. To take just one example, what name should be given to those situations where all armed hostilities have ceased but where women and girls appear to be at increased risk of violence within their homes from male former combatants? Not surprisingly, these debates within feminist scholarship are very wide-ranging. They are all, however, to some extent underpinned by a critique of the hegemonic construction of sexual difference as determinant in the construction of Woman and Man, producing static, ahistorical binary categories.
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