You Just Don't Understand: Troubled Engagements Between Feminists and IR Theorists

Author/s (editor/s):

J. Ann Tickner

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Find this publication at:
IR Working Paper 1996/6 (PDF, 4.41MB)

J. Ann Tickner, 'You Just Don't Understand: Troubled Engagements Between Feminists and IR Theorists', IR Working Paper 1996/6, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, October 1996.

This paper reconstructs some conversational encounters between feminists and IR theorists and offers some hypotheses as to why misunderstandings so frequently result from these encounters. It claims that contemporary feminist perspectives on international relations are based on ontologies and epistemologies that are quite different from those which inform the conventional discipline. Therefore, they do not fit comfortably within conventional state-centric and structural approaches to IR theorising, or with the methodologies usually employed by IR scholars. As an illustration of how these differences can cause misunderstandings, the paper offers some feminist perspectives on security, a concept central to the discipline. It also demonstrates how feminist approaches offer some new ways to understand contemporary security problems. In conclusion, it suggests how feminist/IR engagements might be more constructively pursued.

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