The State of Feminist Security Studies: A Conversation

Jennifer Lobasz (Editor), Laura Sjoberg (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

3 Downloads (Pure)


The different contributors to this forum address different questions, and come to them from different perspectives. Ann Tickner discusses the process of building the Feminist Security Studies project, epistemologically, methodologically, and conceptually. Carol Cohn is interested in the reflexivity of methods in Feminist Security Studies, and the importance of the question of positionality for feminist research. Valerie Hudson is looking for an inclusive approach to Feminist Security Studies; particularly, a Feminist Security Studies that is open to and embraces quantitative, positivist work. Annick T. R. Wibben, critical of this position, talks about the hard questions of Feminist Security Studies’ borders, focusing on what is gained and lost by conversing with the “security” establishment. Lauren Wilcox pays attention to the subject of Feminist Security Studies, noting the importance of seeing embodiment in feminist approaches to security. Laura Sjoberg grapples with what she sees as the essentially contested and dialectical nature of Feminist Security Studies.
In these pieces, it is possible to see a number of different “Feminist Security Studies” approaches – some that emphasize “feminist security” studies, others that emphasize feminist “security studies;” some that see a particular research ethos and methodology to Feminist Security Studies, others that see it as an open community; and some that see Feminist Security Studies as about women and men, others that see it as about masculinities and femininities, and still others that see it as about embodiment, performance, and other complicated constructions. What follows is a discussion about the contours of that debate, which we hope contributes to, engages, and inspires further conversation within and about Feminist Security Studies in (feminist) IR and Security Studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-604
Number of pages32
JournalPolitics & Gender
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • gender
  • feminist security studies
  • feminist IR
  • politics
  • international relations
  • international relations theory

Cite this