A(nother) Dark Side of the Protection Racket

TitleA(nother) Dark Side of the Protection Racket
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsSjoberg, Laura, and Jessica Peet
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Date Published06/2011

This article builds on feminist readings of war and conflict generally and of the civilian immunity principle specifically to argue that gender is crucial to the story of how and why civilians are intentionally targeted by belligerents. It demonstrates that civilian victimization is directly linked to the gendered logic of the immunity principle. Particularly, the authors contend that civilian victimization is a logical extension of wars justified by protecting women and children, and that "civilian" in "civilian victimization" is a proxy for women. The authors make this argument in several steps. First, the authors introduce the literature about civilian victimization, acknowledging both its insights and its blindness to gender analysis. Second, they use feminist work on gender, war and militarism to present the case that civilian victimization in war is a product of gendered elements of the justificatory logics of war. They then provide examples of the gendered nature of civilian victimization (specifically targeting women in wars). The article concludes by arguing that seeing civilian victimization as a gendered phenomenon has important implications for theorizing war and conflict.

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