1st Edition

Feminist International Relations Through a Technospatial Lens An Interdisciplinary Approach

By Gillian Youngs Copyright 2025
    172 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Feminist International Relations Through a Technospatial Lens is a rich, thought-provoking and wide-ranging assessment of power and empowerment in the digital age.

    Artificial intelligence (AI) innovations have launched a new era of policy and public engagement with the workings of digital economy and the scale of its possibilities and risks. How beneficial will its data-driven technological advances be across scientific, medical and commercial sectors and what are the dangers of its increasing capacities to replace human presence and interactions with convincing replications? These are the kinds of big new questions societies confront. Answers will need to draw on deep understanding of technospatial and technosocial dimensions of digital economy and how it has extended, deepened and transformed automation as a continuing feature of earlier industrial economy transitions. These are central themes addressed in this book which presents new analysis supported by a range of material related to more than a quarter of a century of Gillian Youngs’ applied research and practice on power and empowerment in the digital world. The book examines the complex masculinist abstractions and structures that have framed technology as intrinsic to the momentum of change in unquestioned ways in political economy and its state and market drivers, including in research, policy, corporate and profit-driven strategies. To transcend these abstractions and open up pathways for full sociotechnical interrogation of the promise and hazards of advances such as AI, the author’s distinctive critical approach combines insights from feminist theory and practice, political economy and media and communications.

    Contributing to advancing feminist international relations and consolidating its distinctive place in cutting-edge social and political science, this book will speak to scholars and students of International Relations, Politics, Women’s and Gender Studies, as well as Geography, Sociology and Media and Communications.

    Part I. Introducing an Interdisciplinary Journey and Rationale


    1. Feminist International Relations Through a Technospatial Lens: an interdisciplinary approach

    Setting the scene: a long view of political economy

    The technological momentum of contemporary history

    Digital economy and a technosocial world

    Feminism and mediated digital times

    Agency and horizontal versus vertical communication

    Geospatial and sociospatial hybridity

    Digital empowerment: technospatial considerations

    Power, empowerment and the digital self

    Related Reading


    Part II. Public/Private and the Geospatial/Sociospatial Nexus


    2. Introduction to Part II

    Feminism, spatiality and empowerment

    Unseen or obfuscated areas of lived experience

    Embodied experience: online and offline life

    Disrupting the containment of women’s lives and identities


    3. Breaking Patriarchal Bonds: Demythologizing the Public/Private

    The nature of the patriarchal ‘prism’

    Space and power: gender and public/private divides

    From the private to the public: agency and spatiality

    Conclusions: an atypical case points the way


    4. Globalization, Feminism and Information Society


    Globalization and the virtual world: sightings

    Digital divide and access: sites

    Feminism and access to the information society: sociospatial resistances

         Technology and identity restructuring

         Technology and history

    Horizontal versus vertical communication



    5. Making the Pain Count: Embodied Politics in the New Age of Terror

    Introduction: pain and embodied politics

    Disembodied politics and the new age of terror

    Disembodiment and the absence of pain as politically meaningful

    Radical transformation: making pain count



    Part III. Feminism, Technology and Agency


    6. Introduction to Part III

    Radical spheres of relating and knowledge-building

    Feminist challenges to masculinist technological determinism

    Embodied security and the information-age state

    Multimedia surveillance


    7. Theoretical reflections on networking in practice: The Case of Women on the Net


    WoN and networking as practice

    WoN and ‘relating internationally’



    8. Feminizing cyberspace: rethinking technoagency


    Cyberspace, boundaries and agency

    Women and cyberpolitics

    Cyber possibilities and development



    9. Feminist International Relations in a High-Tech Age

    The world of intelligence through a feminist lens

    Intelligence and the technological world

    Ontological dimensions of feminist perspectives on technology



    Part IV. Interdisciplinary Threads and Digital Futures


    10. Concluding Thoughts

    Future-scoping: sociotechnical and industrial imperatives

    AI as a sociotechnical wake-up call?

    Multimedia and embodied reality in an AI world

    AI and creeping automation

    Feminism and STEM hierarchies




    Gillian Youngs has held a number of professorial positions including most recently as a Visiting Professor at the University of Greenwich, UK. She has built an international scholarly reputation at the cutting edge of International Relations (IR) and international political economy (IPE), focused on globalization, digital economy and feminist theory. Her research, publications and academic leadership work reflect the strong interdisciplinary traditions of IR and their relevance to diverse areas of policy, business and culture.