Why Just War Needs Feminist Now More Than Ever

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This article notes the just war tradition’s difficulty adapting to 21st century warfare, its susceptibility to political appropriation, its lack of conceptual clarity, and its blindness to the gender subordination inherent in its theoretical assumptions. Still, just war theory cannot discarded – it is a “necessary evil,” due to both its popularity in political discourse and the necessity of having a framework for ethical analysis of war. It proposes a feminist reinterpretation of just war theory as the revitalization that just war theory needs. It explains this feminist just war theory based on relational autonomy, political marginality, empathy, and care. It introduces some feminist “standards” for considering the morality of war. After brief applicatory explorations into the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, it concludes by arguing that the added normative strength and explanatory power coming from a feminist perspective is something just war theory sorely needs, now more than ever.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Politics
Early online date20 Dec 2007
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • gender
  • just war
  • feminist IR
  • security

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