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Title: Sisters resist! : women's peace activism in West Africa and North America
Author: Pedersen, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 8630
Awarding Body: Aberystwyth University
Current Institution: Aberystwyth University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis examines the Women in Peacebuilding Program (WIPNET) of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and the Raging Grannies, two current women’s movements at the frontlines of organizing for peace in their respective contexts. Based on fieldwork in West Africa and North America, including participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and content analysis of relevant documents, the thesis locates these groups within the wider politics of both the feminist movement and the peace movement. The thesis draws on three bodies of literature: feminist international relations, especially literature on women and war, feminist analyses of security and the relationship between militarism and patriarchy; peace studies, especially the concepts of the “positive” and “negative” peace, conflict transformation, and nonviolence; and social movement theory, especially in reference to collective identity and tactical repertoires of protest. The thesis investigates the relationship between “women”, “motherhood”, “feminism” and peace, concluding that, while women peace activists may organize around gendered identities, the relationship between women and peace is more complex than an essentialist position would propose. A detailed analysis of the tactical repertoires used by women peace activists examines activists’ gendered use of bodies and the manipulation and exploitation of gender and age stereotypes. This is followed by an analysis of the internal and external outcomes of activism, such as personal empowerment, collective identity formation, and policy impacts. The study concludes that women peace activists operate on understandings of “peace” and “security” that are distinct from those of mainstream actors; that they manipulate, challenge, and subvert gender stereotypes; and they use a range of protest and peacebuilding tactics, some of which attract reprisals from the state. Women’s peace activism also creates new political opportunities for women to express opposition to patriarchal militarism, thus challenging the marginalization of women within international and national politics on issues of peace and security. Following Cynthia Cockburn (2007), the thesis draws conclusions not about what women’s peace activism definitively is, but rather what it can look like and what it might achieve.
Supervisor: Breen Smyth, Mary Brigid Elisabeth ; Mathers, Jennifer Sponsor: EH Carr Studentship ; Overseas Research Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Nonviolence ; Feminist Theories