Women and Militant Wars
The Politics of Injury
To Be Published December 31st 2013 by Routledge – 224 pages
Series: War, Politics and Experience
This book explores women’s activities in militant insurgencies and seeks to understand what women ‘do’ in wars and how that challenges or endorses gender norms, as the case might be.
In mainstream IR, inter-state conflict, anti-state armed insurgency and armed militancy are essentially seen as wars where protracted collective violence (against civilians and security forces) is used to achieve a political goal. The case studies in this book are informed by Christine Sylvester’s work suggesting that 'war is a politics of injury'. Extending this notion of wars to the armed militancy in Indian Kashmir, Tamil insurgency in Sri Lanka and the Maoist insurgency in India, this book explores how women participate in militant wars, and how that politics not only shapes the gendered understandings of women’s identities and bodies but is in turn shaped by them.
The case studies discussed in the book represent women’s involvement and participation in three different categories of insurgent wars. The insurgency in Kashmir is supported by one state (Pakistan) against the other (India) and is religio-political in nature. Sri Lanka has witnessed an ethno-nationalist war between the Tamil armed militants of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) and the Sinhalese government security forces which only ended in 2009. The ongoing Maoist insurgency in India derives sustenance from far left radical extremist ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism which was assumed to have lost its appeal and influence. Each of these insurgent wars has its own gender dynamics and recruitment and operational strategies. The book is based on empirical analyses of women’s participation in direct combat and logistical, ideological support they provide to insurgent groups as planners and patrons. In addition, the case studies offer important comparative insight into three different and most prevalent forms of insurgent wars today.
This book will be of much interest to students of gender politics, critical war studies, counter-insurgency and political violence, Asian politics and IR in general.
1. Introduction: When silences speak 2. Women, Wars and Gendered Subjectivities 3. War, Memory and Gendered Representations 4. The Feminist Researcher and the Researched: Negotiations of difference 5. Kashmiri insurgency and the story of women’s silences 6. Continuities and Disruptions in the Lives of the LTTE Women in Sri Lanka 7. Women and the politics of ‘emancipation’ in India’s Maoist wars 8. Conlusion: Women, wars and feminist IR - Troubled frontiers and troubling silences
Swati Parashar is a lecturer at Monash University, Australia. She has a PhD in Politics and International Relations from Lancaster University, UK.