a gendered lens for genocide prevention n.
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A Gendered Lens For Genocide Prevention. (1) How can an understanding of gender performativity contribute to genocide prevention?

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(1) How can an understanding of gender performativity contribute to genocide prevention?

  • (2) What role can contemporary feminist methodology which inverts the ‘nature – culture’ debate and points to the power of the feminine in activist change politics, have in genocide prevention?
gregory stanton s 8 stages of genocide
Gregory Stanton’s 8 Stages of Genocide
  • Classification
  • Symbolization
  • Dehumanization
  • Organization
  • Polarization
  • Preparation
  • Extermination
  • Denial

Your behaviour creates and determines your gender,

the behaviour you are socialised into or trained into.

– Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex


These women are in fact merging their nature with the multifarious demands of culture and environment.


Women from the ‘Liberian Mass Action for Peace Campaign’ forming a barricade at the Ghana Peace Talks in 2003.


“Gender is an identity tenuously constituted in time, instituted in an exterior space through a stylized repetition of acts.”

– Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity


Women staged a protest where they stripped to their bras in defiance against the sexual assault by police officers against Ingrid Turinawe, a high profile female opposition politician.

Uganda April 2012.

No Sex Campaign

Kenya 2009.


Women from the ‘Liberian Mass Action for Peace Campaign’ protesting at a local fish market as Charles Taylor’s envoy passes by.


Ontological questions of gender for genocide prevention

  • Nature (rather than culture)
  • as instrumental in creating and influencing gender
  • Gender as temporal variable and transformable
  • Understanding the changing patterns of human behaviour
  • their causes and effects to better predict, direct and redirect
  • these for genocide prevention
  • Look into the interaction between gender and nature,
  • being and becoming

The raping of women, men and children has become a common weapon in genocides and mass atrocities.


Connection between Grosz’s rendition of the nature of time and the nature of being (a man or a woman) in a war zone and the prevention of mass atrocities:

  • “The past is not the causal element of which the present and future are given effects but an index of the resources that the future has to develop differently.”

– Elizabeth Grosz, Time Travels: Feminism, Nature, Power

  • In terms of genocide and mass atrocities, the index of resources that this past has given to the future through memory, trauma, vulnerability and loss, and how these need to be addressed are crucial for the prevention of future genocides and mass atrocities, as it is often the case that mass atrocities only lead to further division, hatred and appropriated cause for retribution.

The SPLA – Sudan’s Peoples Liberation Army are responsible for many attacks against civilians,

including sexual assaults in the Jonglei Region


Rethinking the effects of nature’s dynamismRepositioning genderRevising concepts of power, politics and struggle

and you might be wondering
And you might be wondering…
  • What has this to do with feminist theory?
  • Why are these obscure, abstract and non-practical questions – questions without instrumental value – of any relevance to feminist or other political concerns?

“Responding to violence with violence generates more violence. We as women are called to generate life, peace and freedom. We plant the seeds, and we must generate the conditions so that the seed can grow. We are not alone; we must support ourselves our families and communities. We can do this together”


How can we consider gender and ways in which gender is performed for building long term prevention mechanisms for genocide and mass atrocities?