This chapter considers the relationship between gender, economy and violence. Encouraging the reader to think broadly – both in terms of the meanings of violence and its possible locations – the chapter engages with existing approaches to gender and violence in the contemporary global political economy to consider gender, economy and violence crucial practices of power in world politics. While violence is often, and for good reason, associated with destruction and suffering, its role in creating and organising key elements of human life should not be underestimated. This chapter intentionally focuses on some of the productive, ordering aspects of violence in economic terms to argue that violence lies at the heart of the formation and maintenance of human life systems. This chapter echoes the assumption, made in feminist work in all disciplines, that gender is a foundational social distinguisher, and is therefore a core component both of how a person sees the world and how the world sees them. Focusing on the category of ‘economy’, this chapter examines the discourses of meaning and identity formation on which economic practices, processes, structures and actors depend to reveal some of the locations of gendered violence. Importantly, the meaning of ‘violence’ here is not just something done to human bodies; it is also something capable of creating the very identities of those bodies. Practices of economic violence include various forms of deprivation, harm and trauma; but they also include dynamic configurations of transformation, resistance, activism and collective struggle.
Poststructuralism has made inroads into International Political Economy (IPE), yet poststructural interventions have been both disparate and sporadic, with gendered poststructural interventions yet sparser. Accused of abstractionism and the obscuration of ‘material conditions’, poststructuralism in IPE (as elsewhere) has often been mis-characterized and mis-represented by its critics. Examples of poststructural gender work on the global political economy show, however, that poststructural IPE’s gender scholars are rarely complicit in the assumed theory/practice divide on which critics have focused. As these, imaginative and important, gendered approaches increase in number and significance, they offer crucial opportunities for tracing pathways through the lives and practices of the global political economy. This chapter considers how poststructural gender approaches to IPE challenge us to think differently about the world, using examples of poststructuralism’s practitioners and their critics in IPE to show how such approaches are opening space for the emergence of non-traditional IPE agendas.