Handbook on Gender in World Politics
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Handbook on Gender in World Politics

Edited by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe

The Handbook on Gender in World Politics is an up-to-date, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary compendium of scholarship in gender studies. The text provides an indispensable reference guide for scholars and students interrogating gender issues in international and global contexts. Substantive areas covered include: statecraft, citizenship and the politics of belonging, international law and human rights, media and communications technologies, political economy, development, global governance and transnational visions of politics and solidarities.
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Chapter 54: Conjoined, complex and ‘forgotten’ worlds: gender in world politics

Marysia Zalewski


As soon as one starts to think critically about the two major concepts and sets of practices of interest here – gender and politics – they start to unravel immediately. Gender opens up as complexly about femininity, sexuality, masculinity, women and men at a minimum (and all plural), and always unfathomably intertwined with a multitude of other identity categories, not least race and ethnicity. Moreover, gender as a concept for analysis is not necessarily accompanied by feminist politics or its wide range of intellectual competencies and commitments. In what ways might this matter? Politics, also complex, is conventionally thought to be about government and matters of state and security, in all of which scholars and others interested in the practices of gender are also interested in one way or another. Yet one of the significant insights generated through feminist work – the personal is political – opens up the term politics in a plethora of unthought-of ways, showing that it works on a wide range of levels difficult to access without the multi-faceted intellectual tools of feminist theory, perhaps, in part, answering the question I posed at the end of the first paragraph.

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