Gender, the State, and War Redux: Feminist International Relations across the ‘Levels of Analysis’

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In her recent article, ‘Women, the State, and War,’ in a special issue of this journal honoring Kenneth Waltz, Jean Elshtain explores the question of what if anything it does to ‘put gender in’ to analysis of Waltz’s three ‘images’ of International Relations, and determines that gender is not definitive or causal in war theorizing. This article suggests that, while the question is an important and appropriate one to ask, the evidence that Elshtain brings to bear and the tools she uses to answer the question are inadequate to the task and not reflective of the current ‘state of the field’ of feminist International Relations. Addressing the question of if gender ‘alters in significant ways’ ‘man, the state, and war,’ this article provides theoretical and empirical examples from the young but rich field of feminist International Relations to present readers with the substance of feminist claims and the warrants behind feminist arguments. It urges International Relations to decide on the question of the relevance of gender by taking work in the area seriously, and suggests that the discipline might be convinced that acknowledging gender is crucial if scholars engage with the literature that sees ‘man, the state, and war’ as gendered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-134
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Relations
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


  • gender
  • international relations
  • levels of analysis
  • anarchy
  • realism
  • Kenneth Waltz
  • Jean Elshtain

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