Feminism and Constructivism: A Comparison

2645 WordsJun 21, 200611 Pages
The discipline of international relations (IR) is one that has witnessed a multitude of variations and shifts. It has produced a fair amount of debate between academics within the international relations scholarship. Due to a plethora of circumstances scholars have subjected the traditional rationalist theories of neorealism and neoliberalism to critical re-evaluations. As a result, constructivism is a concept that has emerged as an alternative approach to dominant IR theories. It focuses on the importance of state identities in defining and gaining knowledge of state interests, actions and goals. There are theorists who purport that the rise of constructivism allows for a further understanding of another international theory, feminism.…show more content…
An individual's social location - meaning their ascribed identities, roles and relationships - are of central significance to feminists as it influences the power one possesses, which in traditional IR theory is gendered and patriarchical. According to Christine Sylvester, these scholars suggest that conventional IR has avoided thinking of men and women in the capacity of embodied and socially constituted subject categories by classifying them into 'neutral' categories . Most theorists too readily accept that women are located inside the typically separate sphere of domestic life and "...retreating to abstractions, i.e. the state, that mask a masculine identity." Feminist analysts are suspicious of ungendered IR texts and champion for their subversion while many seek to implement replacement theories. These theorists contend that identity, gender, and indeed women, are social constructs. Key feminist conceptions include liberal ideas of women's equality, socialist conceptions of a sexual division of labour and the Freudian suggestion that identities are produced, often within the evolution of patriarchy . Many academics share the assumption that the world would be less competitive and less violent if women gained dominance in positions of power . The focus of this discussion is based on the premise that there are overlapping terrains in feminism and constructivism. They share ontological commitments leading to a common

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