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International Security and Gender.


Nicole Detraz

(Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2012), 224 pages.

In International Security and Gender, Detraz presents a comprehensive introduction to the application of a feminist lens to the study of international security, calling attention to the lack of consideration gender receives within international relations scholarship and refocusing the reader to the implications of this oversight on both security theory and practice.

In an examination of the five important topics within the subjects--militarization, peacekeeping and peace-building, terrorism, human security, and the environment--Detraz challenges the standard security narrative and asks the reader to consider how socialized assumptions about gender impact and shape definitions and norms regarding security across the globe and in all societies. In addition to examining consequences of these theoretical definitions and constructions of security on real-life security practices worldwide, Detraz reflects on how feminist interpretations of these central concepts within security studies intersect with the goals of emancipation. In doing so, she makes a strong argument that feminist international relations projects, such as her own, are a tool to begin larger conversations within the discipline about how gender biases manifest in issues of international security, guided by the overall goal of human well-being.

While this work provides engaging questions for the discussion of the acutely gendered reality of international security, it is probably best suited for an audience new to security studies. Detraz spends much of each chapter outlining and defining the relevant vocabulary and theories, and provides a somewhat repetitive review of the chapter in its last few pages. While very readable, this book relies heavily on secondary sources, and its immense scope leaves little space for real-world examples. This leads to an analytically limited surface discussion of the phenomena at hand. This textbook-like structure suggests that this might be most useful for students without significant exposure to gender or international security studies.

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Author:Faddis, Stephanie
Publication:Journal of International Affairs
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 22, 2013
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