1st Edition

Researching War Feminist Methods, Ethics and Politics

Edited By Annick T. R. Wibben Copyright 2016
    286 Pages
    by Routledge

    286 Pages
    by Routledge

    Researching War provides a unique overview of varied feminist contributions to the study of war through case studies from around the world. Written by well-respected scholars, each chapter explicitly showcases the role of feminist methodological, ethical and political commitments in the research process.

    Designed to be useful for teaching also, the book provides insight into feminist research practices for students and scholars wanting to further their understanding what it means to study war (and other issues) from a feminist perspective. To this end, every author follows a four-part structure in the presentation of their case study: outlining a research puzzle, explaining the chosen approach, describing the findings and, finally, offering a reflection on the feminist commitments that guided the research.

    This book:

    • Provides a multi-disciplinary perspective on war by drawing on disciplines such as anthropology, history, literature, peace research, postcolonial theory, queer studies, security studies, and women’s studies; 
    • Showcases a multiplicity of experiences with war and violence, emphasizing everyday experiences of war and violence with accounts from around the world;
    • Challenges stereotypical accounts of women, violence, and war by pointing to contradictions and unexpected continuities as well as unexpected findings made possible by adopting a feminist perspective;
    • Teases out linkages between various forms of political violence (against women, but increasingly also by women);
    • Discusses theoretical and methodological innovation in feminist research on war.

    This book will be essential reading for advanced students and scholars of Security Studies, Gender and Conflict, Women and War, Feminist International Relations and Research Methods.

    Foreword  Introduction Annick T.R. Wibben   Part I – In Wars  1. Chechen political violence as desperation: What feminist discourse analysis reveals Caron Gentry  2. Women and the matrix of violence: A study of the Maoist insurgency in India Swati Parashar  3. Female Engagement Teams in Afghanistan: Exploring the ‘war on terror’ narrative Annick T.R. Wibben  4. Positionalities, intersectionalities and transnational feminism in researching women in post-invasion Iraq Nadje Al-Ali & Nicola Pratt  5. Militarized masculinities, women torturers and the limits of gender analysis at Abu Ghraib Melanie Richter-Montpetit  6. Researching wartime rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): A methodology of unease Maria Eriksson Baas & Maria Stern  Part II – After Wars  1. Tracing women’s rights after genocide: The case of Rwanda Rirhandu Mageza-Barthel  2. "Doing No Harm": Methodological and ethical challenges of working with women associated with fighting forces/ ex-combatants in Liberia Helen Basini  3. An intersectional analysis of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Pascha Bueno-Hansen  Part III: Everyday Wars  1. Studying gender in protracted conflict: Israeli women’s lives in quantitative methods Sarai Aharoni  2. Studying ethical action competence and mindful action from feminist perspectives: The case of Nordic female police officers in Kosovo Elina Penttinen  3. Algerian Feminist Methodologies of Recovery, Redress and Resistance in Assia Djebar’s La femme sans sepulture Shawn Doubiago Afterword Cynthia Enloe


    Annick T.R. Wibben is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco (USF) where she also directs the Peace & Justice Studies program. Her research straddles (feminist) security studies, (critical) military studies, and feminist international relations, also addressing issues of methodology, representation, and writing. She is the author of Feminist Security Studies: A Narrative Approach (Routledge, 2011).

    'What are the political implications of knowledge produced about, with and for people living through wartime violence? How can scholars work towards global solidarity by placing local realities in conversation with global relations of power structured within colonial knowledge systems? Researching War tells the story of the methodological innovations and ethical challenges (feminist) scholars face in the process of conducting their work. Reflecting on their research processes while also interrogating the assumptions and relations of power in their frameworks, these feminist scholars seek to move beyond the limitations of Western-centric approaches, ceding space to the lived experience and agency of women (and in some cases men) during, after and in the everyday of war. Honest, self-critical and engaged, Researching War is a must read for anyone who wishes to engage in feminist scholarship critically, ethically and politically.' - Erin Baines, Associate Professor at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia, Canada

    Researching War brings us an impressive collection of contemporary feminist research on war. It is particularly rich in exploring how various feminist lines of thought are being practiced and developed methodologically, weaving intricate interstices between the politics of knowledge and methodological choices in the study of war. Researching War is a great collection showing that feminism is a tradition of thought that those engaging in the current discussions on (the politics of) methods in IR cannot ignore.’ - Jef Huysmans, Professor of International Politics, Queen Mary, University of London, UK

    'This incisive collection of essays takes the reader through a set of crisply written feminist case studies of worlds of gender and violence. From Liberia to Peru, from the DRC to US occupation forces in Afghanistan and many places in between, the authors explicitly explore not only the everyday worlds of violence with women and intersectionality at the center, but explicitly address cutting-edge questions of feminist methodology, politics and ethics in research on war.  Refreshingly honest and without cant, this multi-disciplinary volume will be a must read for researchers and practitioners everywhere interested both scholarship and praxis around the problem of gender and war.' - Catherine Lutz, Professor of Anthropology and International Studies and co-director of the Costs of War Project, Brown University, USA

    'Researching War is an edited volume of range: a range of feminisms engage with a range of women’s everyday experiences of international, conflict, violence and peace, using a range of methods and methodologies. The contributors practice a feminist research ethic committed to attending to the power of epistemology, boundaries, relationships and the situatedness of the researcher. Particularly admirable are the commitments of the contributors to attend to the power dynamics of research as they research power. Individually and taken together, these essays further the feminist methodological challenge of studying women’s experiences of conflict and peace, experiences which challenge the nuanced scholar to clarify without simplifying.' - Brooke Ackerly, Associate Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Vanderbilt University, USA

    'War persists as the most recalcitrant practice and in many circles as the reality principle of world politics, so much so that we must ask and by asking acknowledge the inability to avoid the political nature of the question - whether the study of war shares some complicity in this sorry state of affairs. Researching War does more than ask the question: a truly diverse assemblage of authors offer answers focused by feminist theory, tested by reflexive attitudes, grounded in case studies and humanized by an ethics of care. Power-savvy, mind-deep and heart-felt, this is a rare intellectual intervention with potential humanitarian blowback.' - James Der Derian, Director of the Centre for International Security Studies and Michael Hintze Chair of International Security, University of Sydney, Australia