Political Science 2231E Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Social Inequality, Ender Wiggin, Androcentrism

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Published on 11 Dec 2014
©Nigmendra Narain
1. "Sex" & "Gender" are different:
1. Sex = bio (male/female)
2. Gender = social construction (masculine/feminine)
2. Gender: analytical category = relationship between males &
females + the creation/distribution of power in these relationships
3. Knowledge = experiences of marginalised groups > experiences
of women and move outwards
4. Public/private dichotomy forms the basis for inter-state/state
5. Emancipation and social progress is a goal for many feminists
6. Analyse & expose 'invisibility' of women and gender
Names (1980s):
o Cynthia Enloe, Spike Peterson, Anne Runyan, Sandra
Whitworth, Cynthia Weber, Christine Sylvester
Multiple schools of feminism (just like realism, Marxism, etc.)
o liberal feminists: women’s subordination
participation in 'public' life
economic inequality
representation in institutions
Caprioli & Boyer
o Marxist feminists:
women's situation under capitalism
production & reproduction
o Radical feminists: patriarchy as a system of male-/masculine-
o Critical feminists:
nexus: materials x ideas x institutions
specific material circumstances determine gender
Chin: Malaysia > exploitation of foreign domestic workers
to uphold Malaysian economic and political system
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o Constructivist feminism:
ideas about gender (specific social roles or natural
abilities) legitimise social inequality between men and
o Post-structural feminists:
knowledge x power > language
dichotomization (refugee/citizen, masculine/feminine)
role of IR theory in disciplining men & women
‘hegemonic masculinity
masculinity/men is considered superior/dominant/the
norm (androcentrism)
o Post-colonial feminists:
Western feminists fail to recognize heterogeneity of
women’s experience
particularities of the situations of women in the South,
Third World, etc.
Most IR assumes men/masculine values are universal and are the
o Competition (anarchy), fighting (war/security), control
(domination), work (paid labour)
o Largely based on experiences (and approval) of men, and not
based on experiences of women
Women's work rendered invisible
o Men’s work = what/who IR should study -- fighting, trade,
policy-makers, politicians
Examination of state governments, global institutions,
etc. reveal few women involved
Main actors are usually men (women are often
masculinized or considered effeminate, eg. Madeleine
o Women’s work considered not relevant/important to global
politics -- care-giving, textile worker, domestic workers,
diplomats’ wives,sex workers
State and Power
State can be understood as an institution of patriarchy
o support for a particular gender social order
o ideological (re)production embedded in birth control, sexuality,
reproduction, labour legislation, family
Fiction of public/private divide mirrored in inter-state/state
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