Victims, Perpetrators Or Actors?: Gender, Armed Conflict and Political Violence
Increasing levels of global conflict and political violence, as well as the higher profile of many 'simmering' confrontations, provide critical challenges for development theorists and practitioners. While numerous countries have endured decades of armed conflict, others live under the permanent menace of political violence. When peace accords are signed, economic and social violence often increase, particularly during the fragile transition to 'permanent' peace. Throughout, the gendered impacts of armed conflict and political violence are key issues. The objective of this book is to provide a holistic analysis of the gendered nature of armed conflict and political violence, and a broader understanding of the complex, changing roles and power relations between women and men during such circumstances. Currently armed conflict and political violence are predominantly viewed as 'male domains', perpetrated by men, whether as armed forces, guerilla groups, paramilitaries or peacemakers. The unavoidable, or deliberate, involvement of women has received far less attention with a tendency to portray a simplistic division of roles between men as aggressors, and women as victims, particularly of sexual abuse. Consequently the gendered causes, costs and consequences of violent conflicts have been at best underrepresented, while more often misrepresented.Through empirical case studies from different regions of the world written by authors from both North and South, the book aims to address four key issues; first, that men and women are both actors and victims throughout violent conflict; second, that the stages of conflict (pre, during and post) are all parts of a complex iterative process rather than self-contained phases with gendered implications throughout; third, that political, economic and social violence form a continuum with their impact requiring gender analysis; and fourth that local, community organizations run and managed by women play a key role throughout conflict situations not only for the provision of basic needs, but also occupying 'advocacy space', and fostering the trust and collaboration - the 'social capital' - that are so critical in reconciliation processes.
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