Gender and the War on Terrorism. The Justification of War in a Post-9/11 Perspective

13. Gender and the War on Terrorism. The Justification of War in a Post-9/11 Perspective
Höglund, Anna T. (2010) (248 pp.) 150 kr; 15 EUR

In the present book, the so-called “war on terrorism” (i.e., the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed the 9/11 terror attacks) is analyzed from an ethical as well as a gender perspective. Through a detailed analysis of the arguments used to justify violence on both sides of the conflict, it is demonstrated how violent acts can become part of the construction of gender. Further it is argued that debates around the ethics of “just war” rely on particular ideas about valued masculinities and femininities, but at the same time they also serve to construct particular forms of gender. The present analysis reveals how scholars, politicians and commentators, with or without knowledge of and references to classical just war theorists, both relied upon and created ethical theories of the just war in their rhetoric on the war on terrorism. Furthermore, the book analyzes how the advocates of different positions in the debate justify their positions and how gender is constructed in and through these arguments. The conclusion of the investigation is that the rhetoric that has been used to justify, or in some cases to condemn, the war against terrorism both relies upon and sustains particular constructions of masculinities and femininities.

Anna T. Höglund is Associate Professor in Ethics and Senior Lecturer at Uppsala University.