Review of International Studies

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You still don’t understand: why troubled engagements continue between feminists and (critical) IPE


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Relatively early in the attempts to gender the discipline of International Relations (IR), it was argued by some feminist scholars that it was easier to raise feminist concerns in International Political Economy (IPE) than in IR. However, it has subsequently proved very difficult to articulate these concerns within mainstream IPE, as ‘the neo-realist and neo-liberal frameworks, with their common focus on state-centric issues of co-operation and conflict and their positivist and rationalistic methodologies, do not lend themselves to investigating gendered structures of inequality …’. In contrast, more overlap has been discerned between feminist perspectives and methodologies and the less influential ‘globalist’ (also known as critical/transdisciplinary or heterodox) approaches to IPE than with the dominant statist approaches. This article takes this position as its starting point and will focus on the relationship between gendered analyses and critical IPE (as it will be known here). It therefore does not engage with the undoubtedly important question of how far it is possible or desirable to have a gendered analysis that is not linked to feminism, as within both feminist and critical approaches to IPE an emancipatory agenda is entirely legitimate and even an integral part of those approaches.

(Published Online February 27 2006)


1 This title borrows from J. Ann Tickner’s article, ‘ You Just Don’t Understand: Troubled Engagements Between Feminists and IR Theorists’, International Studies Quarterly, 41 (1997), pp. 611–632.