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YoungTheLogic+of+Male+Protectionism

YoungTheLogic+of+Male+Protectionism - Iris Marion Young The...

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[ Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 2003, vol. 29, no. 1] 2003 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. 0097-9740/2004/2901-0008$10.00 I r i s M a r i o n Y o u n g The Logic of Masculinist Protection: Reflections on the Current Security State My most important job as your President is to defend the homeland; is to protect American people from further attacks. —George W. Bush, remarks given on March 29, 2002 (2002b) Every man I meet wants to protect me. I can’t figure out what from. —Mae West T he American and European women’s movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s contained a large segment that organized around issues of weapons, war, and peace. Creative civil disobedience actions wove webs of yarn at entrances to the Pentagon and set up colorful camps on cruise missile sites in England’s Greenham Common. Writings of the women’s peace movement tried to make theoretical connections between male domination and militarism, between masculine gender and the pro- pensity to settle conflicts with violence, and these echoed some of the voices of the women’s peace movement earlier in the twentieth century. By the early 1990s the humor and heroism of the women’s peace actions had been all but forgotten. Organized violence, led both by states and by nonstate actors, has certainly not abated in the meantime and has taken new and frightening forms (Kaldor 1999). Thus there are urgent reasons to reopen the ques- tion of whether looking at war and security issues through a gendered lens can teach lessons that might advance the projects of peace and de- Earlier versions of this article were presented at conferences at Washington University in St. Louis and Lancaster University in England, and I have benefited from discussions on both occasions. I am grateful to David Alexander, Gopal Balakrishnan, Neta Crawford, Tom Dumm, Samantha Frost, Susan Gal, Sandra Harding, Anne Harrington, Aaron Hoffman, Jeffrey Isaac, Patchen Markell, John McCormick, Linda Nicholson, Sara Ruddick, Lora Viola, Laurel Weldon, Alexander Wendt, and an anonymous reviewer for Signs for comments on earlier versions. Thanks to Anne Harrington and Kathy McCabe for research assistance.
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2 Young mocracy. In this article I analyze some of the security events and legal changes in the United States since fall 2001 by means of an account of a logic of masculinist protection. Much writing about gender and war aims to explain bellicosity or its absence by considering attributes of men and women (Goldstein 2001). Theories adopting this approach attempt to argue that behavioral pro- pensities of men link them to violence and those of women make them more peaceful and that these differences help account for the structure of states and international relations. Such attempts to connect violence structures with attributes or behavioral propensities that men or women supposedly share, however, rely on unsupportable generalizations about men and women and often leap too quickly from an account of the traits of persons to institutional structures and collective action. Here I take a
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