The Ethics Of Feminism

Jacqui True

in The Oxford Handbook of International Relations

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199219322
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:


The Ethics Of Feminism

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Feminist perspectives on international relations are explicitly and positively normative. Together with feminists in other fields, international relations feminists seek to understand existing gender relations — the dominance of masculinities over femininities — in order to transform how they work at all levels of social, political, and economic life. More recently, feminists have given an explicit account of their alternative methodological approaches to research on global politics. However, the axiological dimension of feminist international relations is still relatively underdeveloped. In particular, there is little scholarship that translates feminist theory into guidelines for ethical conduct by state and nonstate actors in international relations. International relations feminists share a praxis-oriented normative theory — consciously building theory from practice and to guide political practice — but their normative approaches are plural. They differ over the philosophical grounds for their knowledge of gendered international reality, the theoretical location and centrality of gender as an analytic category in the study of international relations, and, on the basis of these, their prescriptions for ethical conduct. This article explores these differences among international relations feminisms and their significance for international relations theory. It also considers the debates between feminist and other international relations perspectives, often construed as one-way conversations.

Keywords: international relations; feminists; gender relations; global politics; feminist theory; normative theory

Article.  5616 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations ; Political Theory

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