The Gender Turn in Diplomacy

A New Research Agenda

Authored by: Karin Aggestam, Ann Towns

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation, Security Sector Reform (SSR)
Region: No Region
Year: 2018
Citation: Karin Aggestam & Ann Towns (2018) The gender turn in diplomacy: a new research agenda, International Feminist Journal of Politics, DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2018.1483206

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This article argues that the (re-)constitution of diplomacy is intimately linked to gender and the practices of exclusion and inclusion of women and men over time. While the big debates in both academia and among practitioners concern the change and continuity of diplomacy in the last hundred years, gender has received scant, if any, attention. The overarching aim of this article is therefore to advance a new research agenda, which can spur future gender studies and contribute to rethinking diplomacy. It presents an original narrative about three distinct bodies of diplomatic scholarly work that focus on (1) diplomatic history; (2) descriptive representation; and (3) gendered institutions. We conclude that first there is a need to move out of Europe and North America to provide greater focus on Africa, Asia and Latin America. Second, there is a need to move beyond the descriptive single case studies towards more systematic comparisons, which can trace change in institutional gender dynamics over time. Ethnographic work can provide novel insights to gendered micro-processes and the daily mundane institutional practices. Third, as part of the gender turn in the field of diplomacy international feminist theory can generate significant theoretical contributions to the transformation of diplomacy.