Gender, Structure, and War: What Waltz Couldn't See

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This article theorizes Waltz's ‘third image,’ international system structure, through feminist lenses. After briefly reviewing International Relations (IR) analysis of the relationship between anarchy, structure, and war, it introduces gender analysis in IR with a focus on its theorizing of war(s). From this work, it sketches an approach to theorizing international structure through gendered lenses and provides an initial plausibility case for the argument that the international system structure is gender-hierarchical, focusing on its influence on unit (state) function, the distribution of capabilities among units, and the political processes which consistently govern unit interaction. It outlines the implications of an account of the international system as gender-hierarchical for theorizing the causes of war generally and wars specifically, with a focus on potentially testable hypotheses. The article concludes with some ideas about the potential significance of a theorizing gender from a structural perspective and of theorizing structure from through gendered lenses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-38
Number of pages38
JournalInternational Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2012


  • gender
  • structure
  • war
  • anarchy
  • feminist IR
  • Kenneth Waltz
  • realism
  • feminist security studies

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