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Call for Papers

Centre for Women, Peace and Security, London School of Economics and Political Science

  • Gender and New Wars Workshop, 9 & 10 March 2017
  • Deadline for abstracts: 11 November 2016

War is a gendered phenomenon. While gender differential impacts of war have been widely studied, there is still a gap in our understanding of how gender is constructed in the context of ‘new wars’ (an analytic approach to understanding present-day conflicts: Kaldor, 1999, 3rd ed. 2012). In ‘old wars’, the battle was between the states, the national interest was the justification for war and uniformed militaries were the main actors. New wars have a different logic, stemming from differences in the actors, the goals, the tactics, and the forms of finance. In new wars, the actors include armed forces, para-military groups, war lords, mercenaries, private security contractors, criminal groups. They are largely fought in the name of identity, such as ethnicity, religion, tribal, rather than for geopolitical goals, and fear and terror are spread via civilian casualties and forced displacement. While old wars tend to be extreme in the sense of maximising and totalising violence, new wars tend to be persistent and difficult to end.

Although women have been increasingly participating in new wars and have taken up key roles as leaders and commanders, war is still seen as a masculine phenomenon. However, the construction of masculinity in new wars, in contrast to the heroic warrior of old wars, is more contradictory and insecure, which may perpetuate extreme forms of gender inequality and/or may offer a possibility for change. Moreover, the narrative of ‘security’ is constructed based on the political interests of a particular nation(s). Therefore, it is important to understand the construction of gender within the context of new wars to be able to identify policy options that might be more likely to contribute to a sustainable peace. This workshop will bring together key scholars working across different disciplines in order to examine how gender is constructed in new wars and the consequences and/or advantages of new gender relations. It seeks to bring together emerging work on the formation, contestation and transformation of gender relations in new wars.

Key questions for exploration include:

  • How are gender roles, identities and structures of power created and perpetuated in new wars, including in terrorist and extremist organisations?
  • How are the goals of new wars gendered?
  • How are the notions of masculinity and femininity created, affirmed, reconfigured or contested in new wars? Why are traits associated with masculinity still valued more while those associated with femininity are undervalued?
  • How are gender stereotypes constructed and contested in new wars?
  • Do new wars create more extreme forms of gender inequality compared to old wars?
  • What do women who have been involved in new wars think about themselves?
  • What are the roles and status of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender / transsexual and intersex (LGBTI) populations in new wars?
  • What are the consequences of constructions of gender on post-conflict peacebuilding, reconstruction and for long-term sustainability?
  • Why and how has sexual violence been used as a tactic of new wars?
  • Men who die in war are seen as heroes and martyrs while women who die after being raped or suffering sexual violence are not. Why is this so?
  • How is gender constructed in the discourse of international security post 9/11?
  • How do globalisation and the changing roles of the state in relation to organised violence construct gender?
  • What happens to racial-sexual hierarchies of power, when gender becomes a priority in the international security discourse?
  • How does the women, peace and security agenda address (or not address) gender concerns of new wars?
  • What are the gender dynamics of financing new wars? How have women and men been impacted by the methods used for financing new wars and the predatory war economy?

Papers are encouraged that consider one or more of these key questions. Each paper should present an analysis of the way forward and the roles civil societies can play in prevention of and protection from violence. Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome.

Deadline: Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent by 11 November 2016 to Dr Punam Yadav at with the email subject heading ‘Gender and New Wars’.

Workshop: The workshop will be held on 9 & 10 March 2017, at the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Outcome: Workshop participants may be invited to contribute to a volume on Gender and New Wars edited by Christine Chinkin and Mary Kaldor.


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