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April 21 , 2011

Gender and Conflict

Embodiments, Discourses and Symbolic Practices


Through an in-depth analysis of the multifaceted manifestations of gender and conflict, this book shows how cognition and behaviour, agency and victimization, are gendered beyond the popular stereotypes. Conflict not only reconfirms social hierarchies and power relations, but also motivates people to transgress cultural boundaries and redefine their self-images and identities. The contributions are a mix of classical ethnography, performance studies and embodiment studies, showing ‘emotions and feelings’ often denied in scientific social research. Strong in their constructivist approach and unorthodox in theory, the articles touch upon the dynamic relation between the discourses, embodiments and symbolic practices that constitute the gendered world of conflict. The localities and research sites vary from institutional settings such as a school, rebel movements, public toilets and the military to more artistic domains of gendered conflicts such as prison theatre classes and the capoeira ring. At the same time, these conflicts and domains appropriate wider discourses and practices of a global nature, demonstrating the globalised and institutionalised nature of the nexus gender-conflict. A first set of chapters deals with ‘breaking the gender taboos’ and renegotiating the stereotypical gender roles - masculinities or femininities - during conflict. A second set of chapters focuses more explicitly on the bodily experience of conflict either physically of symbolically, while the last set straddle body and narrative. The inductive quality of the work leads to unexpected insights and does give access to worlds that are new, and often surprising and unconventional.

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