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  • 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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This chapter focuses on the political economy of Iran, specifically the evolution, formation and role of the Iranian state before and after the Revolution. Using historical materialist analysis, it attempts to frame the origins of the state within its integration into global capitalism. This will be done by exploring Iran’s economic development in the early 20th century, land reform and industrialization after the Second World War, and responses to economic, political and social conditions, in particular the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979.

The state has played a crucial role in nearly all developing countries, especially with transformations in the ‘third world’ after 1945 (katouzian, 1981; Harris, 1983, 1986; Bromley, 1994). Rapid changes in the economy and society took place under the capitalist mode of production that had replaced pre-capitalism, a development that began in the West and later spread to the rest of the world. Iran was no exception to this process, and had to develop its own way of integrating into global capitalism. The transformation included such political developments as that of a parliament based on forms of popular representation. Iran has followed similar patterns of capitalist development to those of other ‘third world’ countries, initially adopting import substitution industrialization (ISI), and with state intervention along capitalist lines. It also had to conform to market demands, Increasingly after the rise of neoliberalism during the 1970s before and after the Iranian Revolution. These demands originated in global markets and were variously adapted locally.

With the global increase in the price of oil in the 1970s, oil-producing countries found themselves overwhelmed with the large flows of income they were receiving.

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This book has described the processes and contradictions of capitalist development in Iran before and after the 1979 Revolution, and has examined the role of Islamists historically. The central theme of the book has been the uneven character of capitalist development in Iran and the ways in which Iran’s integration into the world-system has not involved uprooting traditional forces. Hence, the process has involved both continuity and change.

Iran’s development and its integration into global capitalism have been facilitated by the role of energy, especially since 1970. With the growing importance of energy in the world, the oil-producing countries have not only developed but also become fundamental players within the world-system. Along with the other Gulf countries, Iran has turned into a dynamic centre of global political economy, benefiting from the financial muscle it has been able to wield as a result (Hanieh, 2011).

This has given these countries the power to act relatively independently, although they have remained firmly dependent on the global market within the world division of labour, as oil producers and importers of raw materials. In the case of Iran, the country’s economy has become vulnerable to both economic fluctuations in the price of energy and political events, as is evident in the current economic crisis, with US sanctions on Iran.

Since the Revolution in 1979, the energy sector continues to be firmly under theocratic control, albeit within the neoliberal world market. While the form that this neoliberal model has taken in Iran is different from that of many ‘third world’ countries, here, as elsewhere, there have been attempts to privatize national industries and to remove subsides for some commodities.

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Politics, Economy, Religion

This accessible introductory text explains the political, economic and religious developments since the formation of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and provides an analysis of the domestic politics of Iran. It identifies the ways in which the country, often imagined as ‘isolated’, is actually integrated into the global capitalist economy. It also explains the often-heated relationship of the regional powerhouse with the outside world, especially with West Asian neighbours and the United States.

Both rigorous and readable, the book covers:

• Iran’s unusual path of capitalist development;

• The relationship between politics and religion in what is known as ‘God’s Kingdom’;

• The international and domestic factors that shape Iranian politics and society.

Assuming no prior knowledge, this book is an ideal starting point for students and general readers looking for a thought-provoking introduction to contemporary Iran.

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Iran’s relations with the US have gone through ups and downs since 1945, and with the Revolution it went from being a friend and ally to an enemy. Indeed, it was not just the Iranian Revolution that reshaped the geopolitics of the region; the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which took place the same year, also radically altered the strategic equation.

The economic transition of Iran since the end of the Second World War has been remarkable, as it has moved from being on the margin of the global political economy to being an influential state in the world system (Halliday, 1979). A key to this transition has been the role of energy, involving both local and global actors, including states and international companies.

Iran holds a strategic location, with the world’s fourth- and second- largest reserves, respectively, of oil (after Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Canada) and gas (after Russia), a population of over 85 million (three times larger than both Iraq and Saudi Arabia), a developed infrastructure and a relatively strong state and military force.

As energy became a vital resource for global capitalism, the Persian Gulf states, including Iran, were able, with their enormous income from oil, to embark on huge development projects. This involved these states becoming fully incorporated into global capitalism, with its single market. However, political power continues to be largely in the hands of archaic elites (Halliday, 2001). With the transformation of the region, endogenous elites have begun playing a greater political role, both domestically and within the region.

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