Arguing gender and international relations: a dialectical-hermeneutical approach

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Along with other feminist theorists, my work has taken a number of different approaches to (alternatively) bridging, ignoring, minimizing, or valorizing these divides. Inspired by the work of (and conversations with) Hayward Alker, this chapter explores another, possibly more productive, direction: arguing feminist IR. With Alker, Amin, Biersteker, and Inoguchi, this chapter explores the understanding that “scholarly disciplines are constituted by their enduring differences as much as by their shared understandings” (2001, 2). Bringing feminist IR’s (internal and external) differences into dialectical-hermeneutic argumentation, this chapter proposes that feminist IR needs neither to reconcile or ignore its diversity, but instead, recognize that it is constituted not only by its similarities, but also by its contestations. I make the case for this Alkerian approach to feminisms and IR in the following steps. After a brief discussion of what feminist scholars of IR do, the next section provides an evaluation of differences among feminist approaches and between feminist approaches and mainstream IR. The following section reviews some of the attempts to resolve these differences. The concluding section develops an alternative, an Alkerian dialectical-hermeneutic approach accepting and gaining insight from the process of contestation among feminisms and between feminisms and mainstream IR.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAlker and IR
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Studies in an Interconnected World
EditorsRenee Marlin-Bennett
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780203802069
ISBN (Print)9780415615976
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Hayward Alker
  • gender
  • feminist IR
  • argument

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