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Why is there no gender in the English School?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 July 2010

Abstract

Why has English School theory, even as it has been re-imagined as critical international society theory, ignored the workings of gender in international politics? This article stages an encounter between the English School and feminists in International Relations (IR), first demonstrating the broad compatibility of the two approaches. I argue that to conduct a conversation between English School and IR feminist approaches, it is necessary to reconstruct the English School's three traditions – Realist, Rationalist, and Revolutionist – so as to allow a greater role for gender as a category of analysis. I then review the work of two key English School scholars, Hedley Bull and Barry Buzan with this reconstruction in mind. Finally, I argue that IR theorists who have participated in the recent English School revival should consider integrating gender into its theoretical and research agenda, and show several examples of how a hybrid approach can be brought to bear on the expansion of international society, diplomacy, and human rights.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British International Studies Association 2010

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References

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2 Despite a recent proliferation of work developing English School theory, gender has been almost entirely ignored by this literature outside of passing mentions of women. Feminist IR theorists for their part, Sylvester, Christine, Feminist International Relations: An Unfinished Journey (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 13Google Scholar , and Hooper, Charlotte, Manly States (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001)Google Scholar have made suggestive comments about the English School's silence on gender but not pursued them systematically. The exception is True, Jacqui, ‘Feminism’, inBellamy, Alex J. (ed.), International Society and its Critics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 151162Google Scholar . While True's analysis focuses on expanding the underdeveloped concept of international society to incorporate gender, the analysis offered here aims to develop a conversational framework at a more general level of mutual theory building. The reformulated English School troika of James Der Derian's post-classical approach, sketched in Derian, Der, ‘Hedley Bull and the Case for a Post-Classical Approach’, in Bauer, Harry and Brighi, Elisabetta (eds), International Relations at LSA: A History of 75 Years (London: Millennium Publishing Group, 2003), pp. 6193Google Scholar , includes an ‘Irenist’ tradition, which drawing heavily on Beauvoirian feminism, focuses on the links between patriarchy and war. These promising but brief interventions have not served to prompt any sea-change in English School thought.

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60 Bull, Anarchical Society, p. 5.

61 Ibid., p. 4–6.

62 Linklater and Suganami, The English School, pp. 58–9.

63 Bull, Anarchical Society, p. 68.

64 Ibid., pp. 13–4.

65 Ibid., p. 46.

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69 Mona Harrington, ‘What Exactly Is Wrong with the Liberal State as an Agent of Change?’, in Peterson (ed.), Gendered States, pp. 65–82, 66.

70 Bull, ‘Society and Anarchy’, p. 93.

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73 Ibid., pp. 67–71.

74 Buzan, From International to World Society?, p. 167.

75 Ibid., pp. 28, 97, 226.

76 Ibid., p. 23.

77 Ibid., pp. 106–7.

78 Ibid., p. 109.

79 Ibid., p. 117.

80 Reus-Smit, ‘Imagining Society’, p. 491.

81 Buzan, From International to World Society?, p. 176.

82 Ibid., p. 230.

83 Ibid., p. 250.

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100 Ibid., p. 201.

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106 Ibid., p. 183.

107 Ibid., p. 169.

108 Ibid.

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114 Ibid., p. 97.

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122 I am grateful to an anonymous reviewer for this point. For an account of Bull's shift towards sceptical solidarism, see Wheeler, Nicholas J. and Dunne, Timothy, ‘Hedley Bull's Pluralism of the Intellect and Solidarism of the Will’, International Affairs, 72:1 (1996), pp. 91107CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

123 Linklater and Suganami, The English School of International Relations; for an overview pp. 59–74.

124 Wheeler, Nicholas J., Saving Strangers: Humanitarian Intervention in International Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 295Google Scholar . For contrasting views on this debate, see also Wheeler, Nicholas J., ‘Pluralist or Solidarist Conceptions of International Society: Bull and Vincent on Humanitarian Intervention’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 21:3 (1992), pp. 463487Google Scholar ; Wheeler, and Dunne, , ‘Hedley Bull's Pluralism’; Jackson, Robert, The Global Covenant: Human Conduct in a World of States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000)Google Scholar , and Williams, John, ‘Pluralism, Solidarism and the Emergence of World Society in English School Theory’, International Relations, 19:1 (2005), pp. 1938Google Scholar .

125 Wheeler, ‘Pluralist or Solidarist Conceptions’, p. 471.

126 Dunne's account of the post-9/11 period focuses on the threat that hierarchy, exacerbated by American preponderance, poses to international society, arguing that international relations is currently characterised by ‘revolt’ against international society on the part of the US, see Dunne, Tim, ‘Society and Hierarchy in International Relations’, International Relations, 17:3 (2003), pp. 303320Google Scholar . Wheeler finds that the War on Terrorism has not affected the underlying solidarist-pluralist dynamic, see Wheeler, Nicholas J., ‘Humanitarian Intervention After September 11, 2001’, in Lang, Anthony F. (ed.), Just Intervention (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2003), pp. 192216Google Scholar .

127 As suggested by Linklater and Suganami, p. 60.

128 Peterson, ‘Whose Rights?’, p. 305.

129 Hurrell, Andrew, ‘Society and Anarchy in International Relations’, in Robertson, B. A. (ed.), International Society and the Development of International Relations Theory (New York: Continuum, 2002), pp. 3742, 37Google Scholar .

130 Wheeler, Saving Strangers, p. 34.

131 Ibid., p. 250.

132 D'Amico, Francine, ‘Critical Feminism: Deconstructing Gender, Nationalism, and War’, in Sterling-Folker, Jenifer (ed.), Making Sense of International Relations Theory (Boulder: Lynne Rienner), 2006, pp. 268281Google Scholar . Further, feminists argue that it is discourses of gender that produce the very distinction between combatant and civilian that the laws of war are predicated on. See Kinsella, Helen M., ‘Gendering Grotius: Sex and Sex Difference in the Laws of War’, Poltical Theory, 34:2 (2006), pp. 161191Google Scholar .

133 Wheeler, Saving Strangers, p. 284.

134 Kennedy-Pipe, Caroline and Stanley, Penny, ‘Rape in War: Lessons of the Balkan Conflicts in the 1990s’, in Booth, Ken (ed.), The Kosovo Tragedy: The Human Rights Dimensions (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2001), pp. 6784, 79Google Scholar . The gender-analytical literature on wartime sexual violence is too vast to note here; on gender and the former Yugoslavia, see Stiglmayer, Alexandra (ed.), Mass Rape: The War Against Women in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994)Google Scholar ; Allen, Beverly, Rape Warfare: The Hidden Genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996)Google Scholar ; Hansen, Lene, ‘Gender, Nation, Rape: Bosnia and the Construction of Security’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 3:1 (2001), pp. 5575Google Scholar ; Carpenter, R. Charli, ‘Women and Children First: Gender, Norms, and Humanitarian Evacuation in the Balkans 1991–5’, International Organization, 57:4 (2003), pp. 661694Google Scholar .

135 Wheeler, Saving Strangers, p. 12.

136 Ibid., p. 299.

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