What is your research program? Some feminist answers to international relations methodological questions

  • Tickner J
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Methodological issues have constituted some of the deepest sources of misunderstanding between International Relations (IR) feminists and IR theorists working in social scientific frameworks. IR theorists have called upon feminists to frame their research questions in terms of testable hypotheses. Feminists have responded that their research questions cannot be answered using social science explanatory frame- works. Deep epistemological divisions about the construction and purpose of knowledge make bridging these methodological divides difficult. These epistemological standards lead feminists to very different methodological perspectives. Asking different questions from those typically asked in IR, many IR feminists have drawn on ethnographic, narrative, cross-cultural, and other methods that are rarely taught to students of IR, to answer them. Drawing on a range of interdisciplinary scholarship on feminist methodologies and some recent IR feminist case studies, this article analyzes and assesses how these methodological orientations are useful for understanding the gendering of international politics, the state and its security-seeking practices and its effects on the lives of women and men.

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  • J. Ann Tickner

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