Skip to main content

Women as Agents of Political Violence

‘Women as Agents of Political Violence: Gendering Security’, Security Dialogue, v. 35, no. 4, December 2004, pp. 447-463 .

“The final versions of these papers were first published inSecurity Dialogue by SAGE Publications Ltd., all rights reserved © International Peace Research Institute, OSlo (PRIOR), 2004.

Copyright Agreement: All material included in the PDF file below is the exclusive property of SAGE Publications, or its licensors and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. The download of the file(s) is intended for the User's personal and noncommercial use. Any other use of the download of the Work is strictly prohibited. User may not modify, publish, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, reproduce, create derivative works (including coursepacks) from, distribute, perform, display, or in any way exploit any of the content of the file(s) in whole or in part. Permission may be sought for further use from Sage Publications Ltd, Rights and Permissions Department, 1 Oliver’s Yard, 55 City Road, London, EC1Y 1SP Fax: +44 (020) 7324-8600. By downloading the file(s), the User acknowledges and agrees to these terms.

The web-site of each of these journals is located at www.sagepub.co.uk under the heading Journals and the individual Journal title.”


Abstract

This article challenges the idea that women are necessarily more peaceful than men by looking at examples of female combatants in ethno-nationalist military organizations in Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland. Anti-state, ‘liberatory’ nationalisms often provide more space (ideologically and practically) for women to participate as combatants than do institutionalized state or pro-state nationalisms, and this can be seen in the cases of the LTTE in Sri Lanka and the IRA in Northern Ireland when contrasted with loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. However, the role of the female combatant is ambiguous and indicates a tension between different conceptualizations of societal security, where female combatants both fight against societal insecurity posed by the state and contribute to internal societal insecurity within their ethno-national groups.