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Title: Gender protection/protecting the gender order : rethinking responses to sexual violence in armed conflict and its aftermath
Author: Lewis, Chloé
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This dissertation examines the gendered parameters of internationally driven responses to sexual violence in armed conflict. Responding to sexual violence in conflict is now an established priority across international policy agendas, including the United Nations Security Council's framework on Women, Peace and Security (WPS). Over the last decade, a vast multi-sectoral response architecture has been developed to address and redress the issue. At the level of scholarship, the targeted focus on sexual violence in international security gave new life to feminist debates around the boundaries of 'gender' in armed conflict. In particular, scholars point to the limits of dualistic assumptions of gender positioning women as the inevitable victims of sexual violence in conflict, and men as its inevitable perpetrators. While pervasive across conflict contexts, sexual violence documented in eastern DRC has been an important focus of these developments and attendant debates across scholarship, policy and practice. Against the backdrop of the WPS agenda and through the case study of eastern DRC, this dissertation builds on this scholarship. Empirically, it explores the relationship between internationally developed responses to sexual violence in conflict and their implications in practice. Conceptually, it examines how, why, and with what effect gendered assumptions underpinning the response architecture bear upon understandings of 'gender' in conflict more broadly. Drawing on extensive qualitative research conducted at the UN Headquarters in New York and in eastern DRC, I demonstrate that responses to sexual violence reify the (perceived) inevitability of female 'victim-survivorhood' and male 'perpetratorhood.' In other words, and by calling particular attention to institutional politics of policymaking and operational constraints of policy implementation, I argue that gender protection mechanisms ultimately protect 'gender.' In doing so, this thesis adds empirical and conceptual weight to calls for more complex, intersectional, and inclusive understandings of gender (and) protection in armed conflict and its aftermath.
Supervisor: Chatty, Dawn ; Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Elena Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Gender and Armed Conflict ; Men and Masculinities ; Feminist theory ; Sexual Violence in Conflict