Women in terrorism : a poststructural feminist approach to gender
Date of Issue2018
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
Women have been involved in terrorism for centuries yet the phenomenon of terrorism is characterized as masculine. They are marginally noted as political agents, because women's violence is discussed in terms of their gender- 'women are not supposed to be violent'. The primary objective of this study is to challenge this myth associated with gender in the realm of terrorism. By treating gender as fluid and contextual, it seeks to normalize female violence in terrorism. To do so, the concept of 'Terrorism Gender Performativity' has been advanced by this study, using a poststructural feminist approach. Drawing on the works of Judith Butler and Michel Foucault, it posits female terrorism as a performance and a claim of agency. It elucidates how conflict constitutes violent identities by revealing the performative nature of gender in such conditions. By analyzing the concept of gender performativity in depth, it highlights how Palestinian and Chechen women experience sustained violence emanating from the occupation and how such violence essentially functions to produce/reproduce subjects deemed to perpetrate such acts of terrorism. The study finally asserts that women's involvement in terrorism and their agency should however be examined on a case-by-case basis.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science