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Cover Introduction to International Relations: Theories and Approaches

8. Post-positivist Approaches: Post-structuralism, Postcolonialism, Feminism  

This chapter examines post-positivist approaches in international relations (IR). Post-positivism rejects any claim of an established truth valid for all. Instead, its focus is on analysing the world from a large variety of political, social, cultural, economic, ethnic, and gendered perspectives. The chapter considers three of the most important issues taken up by post-positivist approaches: post-structuralism, which is concerned with language and discourse; postcolonialism, which adopts a post-structural attitude in order to understand the situation in areas that were conquered by Europe, particularly Africa, Asia, and Latin America; and feminism, which argues that women are a disadvantaged group in the world, in both material terms and in terms of a value system which favours men over women. It also reflects on recent calls for ‘Global IR’, where voices from outside of Western research environments are heard. The chapter concludes with an overview of criticisms against post-positivist approaches and the post-positivist research programme.


Cover Contemporary Security Studies

11. Gender and Security  

Caroline Kennedy-Pipe and Sophia Dingli

This chapter examines issues of gender and security. It begins with an explanation of what we mean by gender and explains why issues of gender are central to understanding security. International Relations specialists have over the last three decades explored and interpreted the ways in which men and women have responded to the national and international policies which have governed conflict, terrorism, and war. The chapter demonstrates that through understanding and placing notions of gender at the centre of any debate on security one can unleash a series of interlocking understandings of the way men and women relate to insecurity, violence, and war.