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  • Politics and International Relations x
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This chapter introduces and contextualises the international arms trade. It explores the links between the activities of state and corporate elites through the lens of warrior-protector and bourgeois-rational models of masculinity. The legitimate arms trade is defined and monitored, over and against illegitimate trading as a criminal activity, through ‘nested’ hierarchies of male-dominated elites. Visual analysis shows how the overtly gendered masculinity of moralised patriarchy interacts with covertly gendered humanness. In that way money-making in the national/international arms trade is sanitised as patriotic. Taking the UK as a particular state-agent, the chapter shows how legitimating strategies invisibilise policy contradictions and human rights-violations.

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This chapter takes readers to the very pinnacle of global power where nation-states, military establishments and commercial interests come together at international arms fairs. At those venues arms traders and weapons-manufacturers address their legitimacy-deficit. Their strategies are stabilised by reinscribing the heterosexual certainties of the gender-order hierarchy of masculinity over femininity. Gender-sensitive ethnography, informed by performativity, explicates this in detail, with particular attention to the role of women. In turn weapons-company promotional videos do this similarly with the race-class order to stabilise themselves politically. This conjuncture is dominated by American ‘defence’ spending and thus by ‘western-liberal’ norms. Legitimation then works against any idea of hypocrisy and subterfuge.

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This chapter considers the anti-militarism activisms which confront the imbrication of weaponry and masculinity that the preceding chapters have outlined. Those activisms include both men and women. However, they have a particular and often problematic relationship with feminisms and with feminist activists. Moreover those groups and movements include a variety of understandings of, and internal conflicts about, critical approaches to masculinity. Rather than typologising any masculinities therein as somehow ‘alternative’, the analytical focus here is on grassroots efforts to delegitimise weaponry and militarism. Some queer activists attempt to do this by destabilising the gender-order hierarchy directly. This chapter avoids descriptive typology and relates instead to great-power politics.

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Gender is widely recognized as an important and useful lens for the study of International Relations. However, there are few books that specifically investigate masculinity/ies in relation to world politics.

Taking a feminist-inspired understanding of gender as its starting point, the book:

  • explains that gender is both an asymmetrical binary and a hierarchy;

  • shows how masculinization works via ‘nested hierarchies’ of domination and subordination;

  • explores the imbrication of masculinities with the nation-state and great-power politics;

  • develops an understanding of the arms trade with commercial processes of militarization.

Written in an accessible style, with suggestions for further reading, this book is an invaluable resource for students and teachers applying ‘the gender lens’ to global politics.

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This chapter genders the supposedly gender-neutral founding concepts of the study of international relations. The security dilemma arises in and through the ordered hierarchies of male-dominated institutions. The state is rightly conceived as masculine and masculinising. The great-power politics of the international system is thus coincident with the militarisation and weaponry through which nation-states compete. This international ‘normality’ is legitimated by the gender-order hierarchies of male dominance. That order of dominance is legitimated in turn by the nation-state in masculinising practices and weapons-displays. States without a military establishment are thus queer, yet normalised into the ordered hierarchies of militarism by other means, such as national sporting prowess.

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This chapter explains that gender is not simply a binary. It is also a hierarchy of masculinity over femininity. Within that hierarchy there are ‘nested’ hierarchies of some men over others. This chapter also distinguishes between domination and hegemony, which is domination by consent. And it explains that masculinity and femininity are asymmetrical. Men can stand for generic, de-gendered humanity. When they are gendered as overtly male, that representation is moralised as good. Moral badness is then displaced into a generic human nature. Women have only the overtly gendered option. Men thus accumulate power within hierarchies of domination and subordination by mutual consent.

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Business and labour groups are better organised and exert greater influence at the international level than ever before. Cooperation and organisation beyond borders has increased, as has international lobbying. Some business and labour organisations operate independently and on the periphery of intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), trying to influence them from the outside. Others are institutionally embedded within the decision- and policy-making structures of IGOs. As the number and importance of IGOs has grown, so too have the number of formal and informal opportunities for engagement in global policy processes. Although business and labour organisations can find common ground between them on certain issues, they often pursue policies that are at odds with each other, especially when it comes to questions of economic and social regulation. This chapter examines all of these issues. The first section provides an overview of how major business and labour actors exercise power, and how they are represented in global social policy (GSP). The second section outlines the competing perspectives business and labour have on social policy. The third section examines some important global issues relevant to labour and business interests, including labour standards, corporate regulation and international taxation. The fourth section examines global governance and the responses of IGOs to business and labour positions.

As global frameworks and agreements on trade, regulations and social policies have become more important and, in some instances, more binding, so business and labour organisations have sought to shift their spheres of influence to the global and world-regional levels in addition to the national level to defend their interests.

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In contrast to the study of national welfare regimes, global social policy (GSP) studies have largely invisibilised gender. The same cannot be said for GSP as practice. ‘Gender equality and women’s empowerment’ has become an established (if still contested) global norm, with an institutional architecture dedicated to making gender inequalities visible and promoting policies to address these. Various United Nations (UN) agencies and other intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), together with transnational feminist networks (TFNs), have worked to gender understandings of global poverty and inequality, labour policy, health, social protection and migration.

This chapter outlines ways of thinking about how GSP, as a field of academic study and as political practice, incorporates a gender lens. It begins with an overview of the global institutional architecture developed to make visible the gender dimensions of GSP issues. UN agencies and UN treaty bodies like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) play a critical role, but they do not work in isolation. Of critical importance are their links with feminist epistemic communities and TFNs. The second section looks at gender and labour policy, highlighting the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) standard-setting work. It shows that the ILO’s understanding has evolved, influenced by developments in the wider environment and the actions of TFNs.

Identification of women’s reproductive roles in the biological sense of women as bearers of children and in social reproduction understood as ‘the processes involved in maintaining and reproducing people … on a daily and generational basis’ (Bezanson and Luxton, 2006, p 3) contributes to the gendering of social policy practice.

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This chapter provides an overview of the institutions and actors that constitute the governance of global social policy (GSP). This process is referred to as global social governance, and involves a complex web of public and private actors which pursue their agendas over a multiplicity of jurisdictions and countries. The first section introduces key concepts necessary for an understanding of the intergovernmental organisations (IGOs), structures and actors via which the processes of global social governance take place. The following section introduces key IGOs, and demonstrates how they are organised according to different principles and have blurred and overlapping mandates and differential degrees of power. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank are briefly compared to illustrate these differences. The chapter then turns to world-regional social governance, and considers the range of sub-global (world-regional) IGOs and the challenges they both face and present for global social governance. Finally, the chapter looks at the future of global social governance and reflects on contemporary challenges to GSP.

Governance is a tricky concept, with a variety of definitions. It can be distinguished from government in that it concerns various means of regulating or organising some activity or entity that may involve governments but that are not limited to them. Governance is sometimes thought of as referring to the environment in which governments act. Fidler (2005, p 162) provides a concise definition of governance as ‘The process of governing, or of controlling, managing or regulating the affairs of some entity’. Note that this may include formal institutions that involve codified rules and norms as well as tacit or informal rules or norms.

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