Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Sisters in arms? : female participation in leftist political violence in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1970
Author: Karcher, Katharina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 1831
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This dissertation offers a qualitative study of female participation in leftist political violence in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1970. It focuses on four militant leftist groups: the ‘Red Army Faction’ (RAF), the ‘Movement of June 2’ (MJ2), the ‘Revolutionary Cells’ (RC), and the ‘Red Zora’ (RZ). Unlike the RAF, the MJ2 has attracted little attention by scholars and journalists; and there is virtually no literature on the RC and the RZ. To offer a nuanced analysis of the history, ideologies and activities of the four groups, this thesis draws on semi-structured interviews with former group members and contemporary witnesses, autobiographical accounts, scholarly literature, newspaper articles, and a range of archival sources. The guiding questions for the analysis are: what roles have women played in the four organisations and in concrete manifestations of political violence? And, to what extent could female participation in political violence be understood as a form of feminist militancy? To answer these questions, this study combines theories and methods from new feminist materialisms, philosophies of sexual difference, gender theory and Cultural Studies. It finds that whilst opposing the existing gender regime, women in the RAF and MJ2 effectively used femininity as camouflage to carry out violent attacks. Neither groups had a feminist agenda. The RZ and some of the women in the RC, by contrast, took up central themes in the women’s movement. This thesis argues that their activities evolved into a form of feminist militancy. Beyond the specific context of research on political violence in Germany, this study makes a more general contribution to scholarship on female participation in armed conflicts, as it works towards a methodological and conceptual approach that accounts for the material-discursive nature of political violence, and for situational dynamics and gendered performances during concrete attacks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JC Political theory