Gender and the subject of (anti)nuclear politics: revisiting women's campaigning against the bomb

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Abstract

This article aims to rehabilitate women campaigners against nuclear weapons as a focus of study and interlocutor for feminist International Relations scholars. Highlighting the recent tendency in gender and security studies to ignore or stereotype these campaigners, I first show how their critical re-investigation has been facilitated by recent systematizations of poststructuralist-influenced feminist methodology. In this light, I then revisit the discourses circulating in women’s antinuclear activism in the 1980s before deconstructing in more detail the post-Cold War writings of Helen Caldicott and Angie Zelter. I argue that multiple, differently gendered constructions of the antinuclear campaigner were in play during the Cold War and have since been reconfigured in ways that reflect and reproduce the shift to a post-Cold War context and differences between the United States and UK. In such ways, then, women antinuclear campaigners continue to develop diverse oppositional subject positions in their efforts to challenge nuclear hegemony, in a discursive struggle worthy of attention from gender and security scholars as part of a broader, critical re-engagement with the gendered dimensions of nuclear politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-724
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Volume57
Issue number4
Early online date16 Nov 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Keywords

  • feminism
  • security
  • gender
  • anti-nuclear
  • discourse

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