Friday, February 7, 2020

Ayelet Harel-Shalev & Shir Daphna-Tekoah's "Breaking the Binaries in Security Studies"

Ayelet Harel-Shalev is a political scientist. She is Associate Professor at the Conflict Management and Resolution Program and The Department of Politics and Government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Harel-Shalev is the author of The Challenge of Sustaining Democracy in Deeply Divided Societies and co-editor (with Arthur A. Stein) of Affect, Interest, and Political Entrepreneurs in Ethnic and Religious Conflicts.

Shir Daphna-Tekoah is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Work of the Ashkelon Academic College, Ashkelon, Israel, and the Head of the Social Work Department, Kaplan Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel. Her academic interests include Gender, Health and Violence, Women Combatants, Child Abuse and Neglect, and Dissociation and Trauma.

They applied the “Page 99 Test” to their new book, Breaking the Binaries in Security Studies: A Gendered Analysis of Women in Combat, and reported the following:
Page 99 is the first page of chapter 6-

Narratives of Security and In-Security: The Theoretical Contribution of Analyzing Women in Combat
[A] dialogue between women in the after-life: The feminist says to the [woman] soldier, “We fought for your equality.” The soldier says to the feminist, “Oh, no, we fought for your equality.”
-MacKinnon 1987, 35
Catharine MacKinnon, in her oft-cited article “Difference and Dominance: On Sex Discrimination,” portrays an imaginary dialogue taking place in heaven between a feminist activist and a woman combat soldier, in which the two fight for acknowledgment of their respective contributions to the advancement of women in society. This dialogue draws our attention, among other things, to the traditionally held view that military service is one of the most distinctive symbols of full citizenship. Just as the service of men in the military often “translates” into many formal and informal rights in their civilian lives, so the exclusion of women from combat roles in the military in many countries remains inseparable from their diminished civic status (Barak-Erez 2007, Harel-Shalev and Daphna-Tekoah 2015). Nonetheless, women’s struggle for equal participation in the military is often criticized. Many scholars hold the view that the struggle for equality in the military has various negative side effects, including the possibilities of reinforcing militarism, of encouraging the militarization of…
If browsers opening our book to the page 99 they would get a fair idea of the whole work. Of the 153 pages in our book, page 99 is a good way to introduce a browser to what the book is about. The "page 99 test" is a quite good browser's shortcut to enter the core discussion of our book. Page 99 brings the readers to realize how the discussions and controversies over the integration of women to combat roles relates to larger issues of power, citizenship and equality. Militaries continue to be valued in societies as key frameworks for the making of men, regardless of women’s increased participation in various military roles. The stationing of women in a variety of combat and combat support roles in conflict zones and in conflicted border areas may challenge traditional concepts of security, war, and gender roles. What is missing from page 99 and is crucial to our book is the rich and authentic narratives of women in combat, revealing the most intimate and meaningful experiences of combat.

When discussing security issues, most studies focus on what is termed as “national security” and the State’s interests, and our book is concentrated on the people on the ground - the soldiers and veterans that are out there – “making war” and “doing security”. Moreover, our book focuses on the stories and experiences of women soldiers in combat and not the common knowledge of war stories by men. We urge scholars and readers to continue to break binaries in Security Studies, inter alia, through a critical appraisal of widely accepted knowledge and binary conceptions in military studies. More particularly, our study opens up a call for probing further into the meanings and interpretations of women’s presence in the battlefield in the era of new wars.
Learn more about Breaking the Binaries in Security Studies at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue