Research Proposal: Gendered Effects of British Counterterrorism Measures on Female Combatants

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Chapter I: Introduction

A. Disciplinary Focus of the Research: Introduction to Strategic Studies and the Study of International Security

Strategic studies is an interdisciplinary field of study that at its core studies the ways in which military power and other coercive measures may be utilised to achieve political ends during “a dynamic interaction of (at least) two competing wills.”[1] Given its broad subject matter,  strategic studies has incorporated numerous insights from the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences, especially  International Relations, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology, among others.[2] This history and diversity of insight, which is often overlooked by critical security thinkers in critical international security studies (CISS), has enriched the study of strategic thought in international security studies (ISS)─which is dominated by realist security thinking.  Strategic thought, succinctly understood as the foremost ideas of civil and military strategists about the threat and the utilisation of force and the application of power to fulfil the ends of policy, provides the conceptual base that underpins strategic studies.[3]

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Critical security thinkers in critical international security studies generally hold that the militaristic field of strategic studies─with its focus on human nature, the quality of leadership, coalitions and diplomacy, the political essence of war and national commitment[4]─ is so narrow “that it can only contribute less and less to understanding and action in contemporary security environments.”[5]Although there is no specific definition of what it means to be critical in security studies,[6] given the array of diverse perspectives that are associated with the label, it may be defined “by those who frame their work using this label.”[7] Nevertheless, such work can often be located within the wider terrain of political theory (and social theory more broadly)[8] to the extent that it centers around the goal of emancipating individuals from the dominant and often unpredictable forces that shape their lives.[9] Many critical theorists therefore seek progressive political transformation to dismantle centres of power, often describing the desired  change in terms of security and human freedom, based on different understandings of human potentialities.[10] Epistemologically, critical theorists are concerned with the processes through which threats, collectivities and individuals are constructed, examining and illuminating how interests, identities and ideas matter in international relations.[11] In particular, they often favor a deepening of the referent object beyond the state, such as non-state actors, broadening the concept of security to include other sectors beside the military, extending equal emphasis to national and transnational threats and affirming the need for a transformation of realist thinking in international security─especially its conflictual logic (i.e., the ever present risk of conflict[12]).[13] Since the 1960s, however, this unrelenting “assault” on strategic studies (which gained momentum in the mid-1990s) has had a chilling effect on the study of strategy, consigning it to a secondary position in the international security subfield and marginalising it in International Relations theorising.[14] Consequently, there is little integration across international and critical international security studies literature; and there is an absence of fresh thinking and new perspectives (as well as coherence)[15] in strategic studies, leaving it “’conceptually wounded,’”[16]which has had a damaging affect in the realm of policy where the “absence of good strategic thinking is becoming increasingly evident.”[17]

Taken seriously, these practical, environmental and intellectual challenges provide an opportunity to revitalise the theoretical foundations and practical applicability (i.e., inform security policy) of strategic studies[18]─which, in moving beyond traditional constraints, may provide an opening for greater cross-fertilisation, enrichment and dialogue between international security studies and critical international security studies.[19] On the one hand, critical security thinkers can encourage realist security thinkers to reconsider the utility of some of their basic conceptual assumptions, which, in doing so, would enhance military strategy development and ultimately military performance.[20]  Realist strategic thinkers, for instance, typically see gender as irrelevant, rarely acknowledging the role gender plays in war and warfare.

On the other hand, and, following political scientist Pascall Vennesson, who argues the same in his Is Strategic Studies Narrow? (2017) article, realist conceptions of strategy in international security are often misunderstood or overlooked by critical security thinkers. Realist conceptions of security for instance are far from narrow.[21]  As Vennesson argues, Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) observed that a theory of war “’must also take the human factor into account.’”[22]Consequently, he developed, from his study of People’s War, a number of crucial insights of lasting value to unveil struggling non-state actors in global politics,[23] such as the dynamic interplay between the forces of counter-resistance and resistance.[24]  Further, some Cold War realist strategic thinkers like Thomas Schelling, saw strategic studies as “’a vast interdisciplinary field,’” incorporating sociology, political science, economics, law, philosophy and mixing numerous other sub-theories like game theory or theory of choice.[25]

Given the above and following Schelling’s outlook on strategic studies, one of the aims of this research is to reinvigorate the Clausewitzian concepts of counter-resistance and resistance within classical realism by incorporating theoretical insights gained from critical international security theory, namely conventional constructivism and feminist geopolitics. It also incorporates conceptual insights from critical philosophy and critical masculinities and femininities with the aim of increasing the potential and general applicability of Clausewitz’s theory of resistance in the 21st century. It supports this approach through a case study that examines the gender dynamics of Northern Ireland’s ethno-national conflict beginning in the late 1960s, which involved the British state and Northern Irish non-state forces. A case study approach also accords with Clausewitz’s argument that it is far better “to study one campaign in minute detail than to acquire vague knowledge of a dozen wars.”[26]

Although international security studies has distinct realist biases and critical international security studies is theoretically, thematically and methodologically diverse, building links between the two disciplines is not an entirely uncharted path─particularly in critical international security studies. [27] Laura Sjoberg, for instance, as Vennesson points out, incorporates realist strategy and tactics in her analysis of gender and gender subordination in global war and warfare, while Tarak Barkawi and Shane Brighton, in their discussion of the historicity of war, examine the problem of uncertainty in Clausewitz’s work.[28] As an initial step towards building this link between international security studies and critical international security studies, I first situate the research within a greater context by providing an historical overview of gender and international security using insights from international security studies and critical international security studies.

B. Situating the Research: An Historical Overview of Gender and International Security

It has been said that it is a feminist fantasy to think that women could play a decisive role in war and in promoting national security because history offers no evidence for it.[29] This view, however, only serves to emphasise the historical invisibility of women in matters of war and national security rather than their absence;[30] and, it is clearly out of step with the contemporary existence of female heroism in numerous theatres of war throughout the world.[31] Having appeared intermittently in historical narratives, at sparse intervals,[32] it is not surprising that women’s contributions to war and warfare are widely assumed to be insignificant in western strategic literature.[33] The ancient lineage of female warriors (sometimes leading all-female armies into battle) within many civilisations, such as Artemisia I of Caria or Joan of Arc, and their ferocious feats are largely ignored or considered irrelevant in international security studies─though critical international security studies, mainly feminist security theory, has done much to increase the visibility and relevance of women in international theory in the 21st century.[34]

The expansion, for instance, of female and feminist global influence in the 1970s and 1980s, generated a substantial array of international non-governmental and governmental initiatives centered on women.[35] An important catalyst was the United Nations Decade for Women (1975-85) with its Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in 1979.[36] This has been matched by a remarkable worldwide increase in the presence of women within traditional citadels of masculinity, namely, national and international security politics and armed forces.[37] Consequently, in the contemporary era there has been a burgeoning spotlight on the relationship between women and security.  Although it is unclear if this is due to changing cultural attitudes regarding traditional gender roles or from state-centric “’considerations of expediency and utility,’”[38]what is clear, is that in modern warfare, women matter. Women matter not only because women at arms continue to play decisive roles in the outcome of armed resistance, but also because, as research suggests, their distinctive insights may lead to security policy innovations that enhance the provision of justice and security[39]as well as peace. 

In feminist security theory, the neglect or marginalisation of female violence in the history of high politics or war is inextricably linked to long-standing cultural beliefs in the masculinity of war and the inbuilt aggressiveness of men[40] (i.e., “a cultural inability to reconcile the categories of ‘woman’” and ‘soldier’”[41]). Indeed, throughout history, male political leaders and rulers often had extensive knowledge and experience regarding military matters, which facilitated the political-military complex. Thus, as indicated, national and international security architecture has traditionally been the “accepted domain of male privilege”[42] and war has been understood as a predominately male-dominated activity.  Most significantly, western state militaries have a long history of continually subjugating or regulating female insights in order to maintain a male-centric institution and to perpetuate the idea that in war, “men have superior truth and insight.”[43] As a result, in many western societies it is understood that the real soldiers are men. When a woman therefore distinguishes herself in high politics or in the battlefield men are more likely to view her as an “’honorary’” male rather than an exemplary female.”[44]

In many cases, governed by cultural convention, women are not socialised to fight, and a woman’s possession of military acumen is not highly esteemed.[45] As sociologist Bill Rolston, drawing from feminist security theorist Laura Sjoberg, emphasises, gender expectations in society are that men will display “’toughness, autonomy, aggression, rationality, confidence and (hetero)sexuality,’” and women “’sensitivity, (inter)dependence, passivity, emotionality, quietness, innocence, grace, caring and purity.’”[46] These expectations, as Rolston further emphasises, feed directly into how war is viewed which are consequently highly gendered affairs.[47] Men are the heroes and warriors who are expected to protect the group, the region or the nation, while women are either victims or carers, holding the family and home together despite everything.[48] One rationale for men’s fighting is to protect women within the group or nation who are unable to protect themselves.[49] This rationale becomes most apparent when the nation is represented as female; defence of the motherland and defence of mothers and other females thus “merge into one rhetorical justification for warfare.”[50] Women who take up arms, then, not only have to face the enemy in the theatre of war, but they also must overcome, among others (i.e. hierarchies of race or class), the gendered hierarchies that high politics and war engender. Cultural resistance to war-like women and the devaluation of feminine perspectives and participation in matters of national security and war, however, is not insignificant. 

Most crucially, male security actors deprive themselves of feminine knowledge and insight, which even Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, recognised as a damaging weakness.  Although Plato’s philosophical framework involves the persistent disparagement of women and their feminine behavior and characteristics, he understood that totally excluding women from the realm of security meant that the state was losing “a certain amount of potential talent…., especially in its capacity to wage war.”[51] Further, as Joshua Goldstein has noted, a fierce commitment to a militarised masculinity can undermine military effectiveness.[52] During World War II, for instance, the Third Reich, despite increasingly desperate circumstances, was unwilling to mobilise German women for combat, while the Soviet Union, with a less traditional view of gender roles, “took full advantage of their human resources” by mobilising hundreds of thousands of Soviet women into irregular forces and the Red Army.[53] The Soviet Union’s willingness to transgress or redefine traditional notions of masculinity and warriors increased the effectiveness of the military in combat, and in some cases, the use of female combatants even “turned the tid[e] of battle.”[54] More contemporarily, there is ample research evidence that shows that men and women in western democracies approach national security and war differently,[55] which suggests that women have a distinctive portfolio of strategic wisdom that could be cultivated, articulated, preserved and acted upon. 

In war, as realist security theory cautions, it is often the case that what works brilliantly in one context will ultimately fail in another.[56] The same military principles and strategies, for example, that were responsible for French General Napoleon Bonaparte’s (1769-1821) initial successes proved disastrous in his later campaigns.[57] Hence, the enduring need, as Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu (544-496 BC) recognised, for unconventional thinking in warfare.[58] A need that is even more pronounced in contemporary warfare─given the enhanced complexity involved in solving today’s military problems.[59] Securing strategic goals in the theatre of war not only calls for “astute strategic planning and judgement by political and military leaders,”[60]but also an awareness of other factors like environment, technological developments and social pressures.[61] This is particularly true in counterinsurgency (COIN) and counterterrorism (CT) campaigns (i.e. subsets of classical war that often involve population-centric warfare) where the centre of gravity, to the extent that resistant insurgents operate among their respective communities, has generally been the population of the area involved.[62] This places distinct burdens on political and military leaders.[63]

Planning and executing a counterinsurgency/counterterrorist campaign, for instance, calls for culturally astute leaders, who, in seeking the support of the population, must work with, not against, the grain of local society.[64] Additionally, because conflict is a highly gendered experience, men and women are differently impacted by conflict because of their roles, priorities, status, needs, and access to legal and power structures.[65] Yet, while much of the literature on counterinsurgency/counterterrorism emphasises the need to engage local populations, often through social or economic intervention,[66] most works fail to “acknowledge gender [is another] factor that can influence an operation’s success.”[67]

It is noteworthy that, in 2004, during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-2011), US military leaders began to recognise the relevance of integrating female combatants into counterinsurgency operations, after running into issues that prevented male combatants from properly acknowledging or communicating with female Muslims in Iraq.  Lioness military units, later deployed as Female Engagement Teams (FETs) in Afghanistan, were decisive[68] in obtaining actionable intelligence; in providing a female presence during house searches;[69] in searching Muslim women for contraband items or concealed weapons (i.e. female-on-female searches); and, in understanding a particular district’s social fabric─without enflaming cultural sensitivities regarding gender.[70] The strategic value of the Lioness program and Female Engagement Teams (FETs) in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism is noted in the literature,[71] but the extent to which they act as a force multiplier, particularly, in other types of insurgencies, such as anti-colonial/post-colonial resistance, political violence or ethno-national conflicts, is not yet fully understood or appreciated.

This is partly explained by a tendency in some internal wars, like counterinsurgency and counterterrorism,[72]to assign men and women “to different categories of various utility for combat and pacification.”[73] Since counterinsurgency requires categorising the population into combatants and non-combatants, and since the quickest way to distinguish between low-risk civilians and high-risk combatants is by gender, men are invariably cast as suspicious objects, while women are perceived as “’naïve’” objects of pacification, protection, and humanitarian-salvage.[74] Based on this logic, women are inferior, but necessary: inferior, because they are seen as playing “more minor, subservient roles than [insurgent] men;”[75]and, necessary, because, in order to contain insurgent violence, they must be won over to the counterinsurgent side.[76]  But, this too is a naïve (and precarious) assumption because it is based on traditional notions of masculinity and femininity, which are not static and can be transgressed at any time;[77] and, because it fails to recognise that women can shape and influence resistant forces and networks at critical junctures─all of which presents a gender-fused network of resistance to counter-resistant forces. 

So, while categorising by gender may be seen as an efficient way of securing and controlling the population in the initial response to an insurgency,[78] a tactical necessity in many contexts, it carries a strategic risk to the degree that it (mis)guides tactical design, which may have a counterproductive effect on operational outcomes.[79] Tactical missteps, for instance, that result from the militarisation of the domestic sanctuary and intimate spaces (i.e. bringing the home into the battlefield) can further alienate the population, particularly marginalised segments of society (i.e. women and children), resulting in an escalation of collective insecurity and violent backlash from resistant forces.

It is understood, in constructivist security theory, that in the face of adversarial threat perceptions, states (and, ordinarily their adversaries) are motivated by collective insecurity to combine their efforts to bolster their own national security.[80] In addition, the shared perception of adversarial threats strengthens both individual and collective identities, especially nationalist identity,[81] which provides the basis for shared action.[82] In relation to state-level war and conflict, this shared action usually involves coercion.  But coercion is both productive and counterproductive to the extent that anything gained by coercion is exposed to threat and subject to vulnerability because it is not achieved with consent (i.e., “the free will cooperation of others”).[83]

In turn, this creates new forms of resistance with different degrees of intensity.[84] Intolerable predicaments, then, like colonial/post-colonial domination, give rise to nationalist fighters, who, in being denied legitimate nationhood, construct a culture of defiance through their resistant acts and the cultivation of a resistant imagination.[85]Resistance of this kind has enough force, if one goes by history, to transform a collective group into a weapon of solidarity as a stronghold against a stronger enemy to achieve a common destiny—a dream worth fighting for.[86]  Yet, the strategic literature, in assuming masculine subjects,[87] barely glances at the feminine essence of resistance, which obscures the role women as members of non-state military groups play in creating and challenging conflict.[88]This is especially true in relation to ethno-national conflicts.[89] But, in fact, because women help shape reality, no account of war can be even nearly complete unless we understand the role women play in violent, non-state resistance.[90]

C. Introduction to the Research: Northern Ireland in Context

The prolonged and sometimes bloody conflict across Northern Ireland and Britain between 1969 and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement in 1998, widely known as ‘The Troubles,’ claimed the lives of roughly 3,700 people and witnessed an extensive violent campaign involving British security forces and a range of Loyalist armed groups (fixed on keeping Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom) and Republican armed groups (whose aim was a United Ireland). A campaign, the longest continuous deployment in Britain’s history,[91]that was unparalleled in its hostility and fierceness in the history of Western Europe since the Second World War.[92] Most crucially, the eruption of wide-scale violence in August 1969 in Northern Ireland and the manner in which state and non-state forces responded, in particular, the British government and the Irish Republican Army (IRA), played a major role in influencing the length and outcome of the conflict.[93]

The insurgent (or guerrilla) nature of paramilitary violence meant that armed groups were deeply embedded within their respective communities─ specifically, pro-Republican/nationalist Catholic or pro-Loyalist/unionist Protestant communities─ generating a high level of community influence and control[94]as well as sectarian violence.[95]Significantly, both communities, as feminist legal theorist Fionnuala Ní Aoláin (2013) has observed, were highly conservative (i.e., patriarchal), resulting in gender roles that were profoundly “circumscribed and implicit in all communal and social interactions across Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods.”[96]Strong ideologies of purity, female caregiving and motherhood were deeply embedded in gender relations.[97]These ideologies pervaded women’s political choices, regulating how and in what ways they engaged in or supported political violence.[98]

At the same time, a police-led “‘policy of criminalisation’” implemented by the British government, though later abandoned in favor of a military-led approach,[99] positioned the police as the state’s front-line response to paramilitary violence.[100] Police raids by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) seeking paramilitary combatants or weaponry[101] generally involved the invasion of private family homes,[102]typically in Catholic communities, which bore the brunt of state repression.[103]Thousands of women were also indirectly or directly swept up by mass curfews, road blocks and other limitations on the freedom of movement at different times during the conflict.[104] Consequently, women engaged in ongoing acts of resistance to the presence of security forces, supportive of republican/nationalist paramilitaries, while a minority of women, willing to step beyond the gender norms of their community, took up arms against the state.[105] The considerably large prison population resulting from the aggressive criminalisation policy also meant that prisons were a habitual part of  life for many living in the jurisdiction.[106] Given the complexity, however, of Northern Ireland’s political violence, it will be broken down into specific concepts in Chapter III: Counter-Resistance and Chapter VI: Resistance, following clarification of the research’s conceptual and theoretical framework in Chapter II.

D. Purpose of the Research

This dissertation, through gendered concepts and tri-theoretical engagement, looks at the gendered impact of British counterinsurgency/counterterrorism (i.e. counter-resistant) practices and policies in Northern Ireland during ‘The Troubles.’ The primary purpose of this research is to identify key moments of impact in assessing the motivations of Republican female combatants who took up arms against the British state. Female combatants in Northern Ireland represented a minority of all combatants in Northern Ireland.[107] Evidence of this is found in the statistics on politically motivated prisoners.[108] Between 1972 and 1988 there were an estimated 1018 politically motivated female prisoners, while there were roughly 15, 000 Republican men and 5000 to 10,000 Loyalist men who served prison sentences.[109] The majority of these female prisoners were Republican.[110] Consequently, this research seeks to build a stronger profile of Republican female combatants through engagement with the heavy masculine presence that permeates counter-resistant and resistant forces.[111]  In so doing, this research attempts to bolster some of the global gaps in security research.  For one, there is a critical need in international security studies for perceptual data, such as beliefs, ideas, identity, feelings and motivations, relating to female ex-combatants, allowing their gendered histories to be more fully exposed for further research and study. 

Second, it will assist in reaching a more complete understanding of women’s involvement in ethno-national conflict, which has received limited attention in international security studies.  Assessing ethno-national conflict, as critical security theorist Alison Miranda has demonstrated in her Women as Agents of Political Violence (2004) article, is particularly important in terms of conceptualising gender and nationalism because anti-state ‘liberatory’ nationalisms tend to generate greater activism by women than state nationalisms “and these conflicts often produce comparatively high numbers of female combatants.”[112]

Third, it responds to the growing demand for bridge-building research, which addresses the analytical limitations of international security studies (ISS) and critical international security studies (CISS), thereby exposing dynamics between theoretical divides. Such data may open the door for the emergence of a more balanced body of knowledge in contemporary terrorism.  The growing demand for bridge-building research in security studies is evident in the mandate of research institutions like The Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS), which is committed to developing a platform for “critical yet balanced discussions of issues related to terrorism, security and their impact on society.”[113] As such, one of the institution’s main objectives is to “foster communication and collaboration between academic researchers in multiple disciplines.”[114]

The secondary purpose of this research is to provide implications for national and global policy-making in security, which may increase military performance.[115] Accordingly, and in line with Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz’s Kritik (i.e., critical inquiry of all phases of war),[116] the research is tailored toward examining cause and effect relationships, such as the misevaluation of strategic environments or the excesses of state militarism, which, in turn, may reveal policy fault lines that can be acted upon.[117] Rethinking counterterrorism policies, for instance, may result in more nuanced and effective policies that limit the opportunities for abuses of state power[118]or collateral damage through more self-restraining or insightful military operations.[119]

E. The Research Question

The primary research question guiding this research is to ascertain“What were the gendered effects of British counterterrorism measures on female combatants during Northern Ireland’s ethno-national conflict?  In addressing this question, I consider the differential interactions of both republican female and male combatants with Britain’s national security policies and its counterterrorism regime as well as the interface of republican male and female combatants within the regime. Conceptually, differential interactions relates to the idea that some people or groups are treated differently than others in specific contexts.[120] Consequently, I define differential interactions as being sensitive not only to differences of gender (e.g., gendered thinking), but also to disability, sexual orientation or generation.[121]

Regarding the interface of male and female combatants within the regime, I also consider the intra-individual causes (i.e., intrinsic motivations) behind decision-making processes that are associated with demographic characteristics, such as age, religion, employment status, gender, level of education, and family and social history.[122]Above all, this research strives to identify which, if any, counter-resistant military strategies and tactics were significant factors in motivating Irish Catholic women to participate in more deadly forms of political violence.  As classical military doctrine makes clear, for every action there is a reciprocal reaction from opposing forces, which, depending on the action chosen, leads to an escalation or de-escalation of violence[123]─though the route violence takes is sometimes unpredictable due to chance, unforeseen obstacles or the potential of a situation.[124] However, it is important to note that although this research aims to revitalise Clausewitz’s concepts of counter-resistance and resistance, there is more emphasis placed on revitalising the concept of resistance. This is a result of time constraints,[125] which does not allow for a deeper examination of the gendered nature of counter-resistance.[126]  Nevertheless, to the extent that the two concepts are conceptually interlinked, according to Clausewitz’s theory of resistance, there is still considerable attention paid to the concept of counter-resistance, which sets the groundwork for understanding the gendered nature of resistance.   

F. Significance of the Research

According to Ní Aoláin (2013), throughout the last decade, there have been some attempts to document the gender dimensions and effects of counterterrorism measures; however, much of the critical analytical focus has been on the practices of the US military in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantánamo Bay, and on the way that gender is entrenched in the differential impacts of both non-militarised and militarised counterterrorism polices directed mainly at radical jihadist groups.[127] In the context of Northern Ireland’s counterterrorism measures, there is much knowledge to be harvested from an area that has a long history of being exposed to anti-terrorism legislation―particularly in relation to emergency regulations.  Stop-and-search powers, for example, as Ní Aoláin contends, were primarily directed at the Catholic community in Northern Ireland, not as a way of locating individuals or weapons, but more as a means of control.[128]

Most significantly, the military operational effects of Britain’s counterterrorism regime on women in Northern Ireland have not been systematically documented, despite the fact that many women (though only a minority) participated and/or died in armed operations.[129] As Ní Aoláin asserts, “no work to date has investigated the parallel intersections with state conflict-management and counterterrorism strategies.”[130] And, “researchers have yet to systematically document the extent to which the state’s counterinsurgency activity targeted women and the effects of state counterterrorism policies on women in Northern Ireland.”[131] And, although there is a large inventory of research regarding the participation of male combatants in Northern Ireland’s ethno-national conflict, there is a dearth of critical research that focuses on the ways in which Irish female and male combatants differentially experience counterterrorism regimes as well as the interface of Irish female and male combatants within Britain’s counterterrorism regime. According to legal theorists Catherine O’Rourke and Aisling Swain (2017), for example, the “deeply gendered” elements of state patterns of harm, conflict and violence remain under-examined and under-documented.[132]


[1]Isabelle Duyvesteyn and James Worrell, “Global Strategic Studies: A Manifesto,” The Journal of Strategic Studies 40, no. 3 (2017): 347. 347-357.

[2] Duyvesteyn and Worrell, Global Strategic Studies, 347.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Michael I. Handel, “Sun Tzu and Clausewitz: The Art of War and On War Compared,” Professional Readings in Military Strategy, no. 2. Strategic Studies Institute (1991): iv.

[5] Pascal Vennesson, “Is Strategic Studies Narrow? Critical Security and the Misunderstood Scope of Strategy,” Journal of Strategic Studies 40, no. 3 (2017): 359.

[6] Columbia Peoples and Nick Vaughan-Williams, “Introduction: Mapping Critical Security Studies and Travelling Without Maps”, in Critical Security Studies 2nd ed (London: Routledge, 2014), 12.

[7] Peoples and Vaughan-Williams, Introduction: Mapping Critical, 12.

[8] Ibid., 14.

[9] Rodger A. Payne, “Cooperative Security: Grand Strategy Meets Critical Theory?” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 40, no. 3 (2012): 614. 

[10] Payne, Cooperative Security: Grand Strategy, 614, 616.

[11] Duncanson, Forces for Good, 34.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Vennesson, Is Strategic Studies Narrow, 361.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Dr. Jackson, The Roots of Military Doctrine. Kansas: Combat Studies Institute Press, 2013. Accessed on February 15, 2018): 9.

[16] Jackson, The Roots of Military Doctrine, 9.

[17] Duyvesteyn and Worrell, Global Strategic Studies, 348.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid., 348, 351.

[20] Jackson, The Roots of Military Doctrine, 9.

[21] Vennesson, Is Strategic Studies Narrow, 365

[22] Ibid., 371

[23] Ibid.

 [24]  Howard Caygill, On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013), 24, 25, 26.

[25] Vennesson, Is Strategic Studies Narrow, 368.

 [26] Carl von Clausewitz, On War (1832), edited and translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, NJ:               Princeton University Press, 1976, revised in 1984, Kindle Cloud Reader), 23.

[27] Vennesson, Is Strategic Studies Narrow, 361, 362.

[28] Ibid., 362.

[29] Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, a social conservative interest group in the United States, once proclaimed that “[h]istory offers no evidence for the proposition that the assignment of women to military combat wars is the way to win wars, improve combat readiness, or promote national security” (see page 174 of pdf, https://nashvillefeministart.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/2003_phyllis-schlafly-feminist-fantasies.pdf).  This observation however is short-sighted to the extent that it fails to acknowledge: (1) the crucial role women have always played in warfare, particularly contemporary unconventional war (i.e., insurgencies); and, (2) new strategic environments in the 21st century.  For example, technological trends have resulted in a higher demand for cyber-soldiers who attack electronic networks behind computers—a theatre of war that is not as physically demanding as actual ground combat situations (see Götz Neuneck and Christian Alwardt, “The Revolution in Military Affairs, it’s Driving Forces, Elements, and Complexity,” Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, Working Paper #13 (2008): 1-24.

[30] The historical participation of women in war and warfare is too vast to cover here, but Jeremy Daniel-John Priddy’s work offers an excellent historical survey of ferocious women. See Jeremy Daniel-John Priddy, “As Tufa to Sapphire: Gendering the Roles of Medieval Women in Combat,” (Masters Abstracts International, George Washington University, Publication Number: 1558108, 2014).

[31] Susie Jacobs, Ruth Jacobson and Jennifer Marchbank, “Introduction: States of Conflict,” in States of Conflict: Gender, Violence and Resistance, eds. Susie Jacobs, Ruth Jacobson and Jennifer Marchbank (New York: ZED Books, 2000), 4-5; Elizabeth Kier, “Uniform Justice: Assessing Women in Combat,” Perspectives on Politics 1, no. 2 (2003): 344.

[32] This phrase was taken from Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Mechanical Reproducibility (1936-1939),” in Critical Theory, ed. Robert Parker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 396.  Although Benjamin’s article focuses on the relationship between fascism, technology and aesthetics, the phrase is borrowed solely for its applicability and good writing; John Keegan. History of Warfare, 3rd edition (London: Pimlico, 2004), 76.

[33] Martin Van Creveld, The Transformation of War: The Most Radical Reinterpretation of Armed Conflict Since Clausewitz (New York: The Free Press, 1991), 189; Alison, Women as Agents of Political Violence, 447; Joshua S. Goldstein, War and Gender (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 36.

[34] Eric M. Blanchard, “Gender, International Relations, and the Development of Feminist Security Theory,” Chicago Journals 28, no. 4 (2003): 1290.

 [35] Adam Jones, “Gender and Gendercide,” in the Histography of Genocide, ed. Dan Stone (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 231.

[36] Jones, Gender and Gendercide, 231.

[37] Michael T. Koch and Sarah A. Fulton, “In Defense of Women: Gender, Office Holding and National Security Policy in Established Democracies,” The Journal of Politics 73, no. 1 (2011): 1; Jacobs, Introduction: States of Conflict, 5; Blanchard, Gender, International Relations, and the Development, 1290; Laleh Khalili, “Gendered Practices of Counterinsurgency,” Review of International Studies 37, no. 4 (2011): 1-21, accessed December 10, 2017. http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/11096/1/Khalili_-_Gendered_Practcies_of_Counterinsurgency.pdf

[38] Bernice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 485,486. Bernice is referring here to the changes in western thinking regarding the utility of conducting major wars as a solution to persistent political problems; however, it could also pertain to the increase of women in armed forces. In a previous paragraph she refers to changing cultural attitudes toward armed forces, which has resulted in women gaining greater access to the military, particularly after the Cold War when there was “a decline of willingness to serve in the military,” and conscription was abandoned in favor of the development of professional armies.

[39]Karen Barnes and Peter Albrecht, “National Security Policy-Making and Gender (Tool 8),” in Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit, eds. Megan Bastik and Kristin Valasek (Geneva: DCAF, OSCE/ODIH, UN-INSTRAW, 2008), 14.   https://issat.dcaf.ch/Learn/Resource-Library/Tools/National-Security-Policy-Making-and-Gender-Tool-8; Annica Kronsell and Erika Svedberg, Making Gender, Making War: Violence, Military and Peacekeeping Practices, eds. Annica Kronsell and Erika Svedberg (London: Routledge, 2011), 14. http://portal.research.lu.se/portal/files/5501673/5155687.pdf; The idea that women are the bearers of a distinctive portfolio of strategic wisdom is recognised by peace institutions like One Earth Future.  The Institution’s President, Larry Sampler, for example, recently commented that gender diversity “improves the quality of the workforce, particularly if the job requires intellectual thought and strategic vision.” Larry Sampler, “#diversity,” @OurSecureFuture, Twitter Account, May 24, 2018.

[40] Blanchard, Gender, International Relations, and the Development, 1299. See also, as emphasised by Fionnuala Ní Aoláin in Situating Women in Counterterrorism and Cynthia Enloe, Does Khaki Become You? The Militarisation Of Women’s Lives, (London: Pluto Press, 1983), v. (“So much of military history and current commentary on weapons, wars and defence spending is written as though women didn’t exist . . .”).

[41] Yvonee Tasker, Soldiers’ Stories, (London: Duke University Press, 2011), 4.

[42] Georgina Holmes, “The Commonwealth, Gender, and Peacekeeping,” The Round Table 106, no. 4 (2017): 404.

[43] Tani Modleski, Feminism Without Women: Culture and Criticism in a “Postfeminist” Age (Abington, Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2014), 66.

[44]Keiko Nowacka, “Reflections on Christine de Pisan’s Feminism,” Australian Feminist Studies 17, no. 27 (2002): 90.

[45]Holmes, The Commonwealth, Gender and Peacekeeping, 408.

[46] Bill Rolston, “Women on the Walls: Representations of Women in Political Murals in Northern Ireland,” Crime Media Culture 14, no. 3 (2018): 366.

[47] Rolston, Women on the Walls, 366.

[48] Ibid.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid.

[51] Val Plumwood, Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1993), 76-77.

[52] Elizabeth Kier, “Uniform Justice: Assessing Women in Combat,” Perspectives on Politics 1, no. 2 (2003): 344.

[53] Kier, Uniform Justice: Assessing, 344.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Koch and Fulton, In Defense of Women, 2.

[56] See Patrick Porter, “Taking Uncertainty Seriously: Classical Realism and National Security,” European Journal of International Security 1, no. 2 (2016): 239-260, for an excellent discussion of classical realism’s flexibility in relation to uncertainty, strategy and policy-making.

[57] Porter, Taking Uncertainty Seriously, 252.

[58] Sun Tzu, Sun Tzu: The Art of War, 70-71.

[59] Jackson, The Roots of Military Doctrine, 70, 73,93-94.

[60] I.M. Datz, Military Operations Under Special Conditions of Terrain and Weather (New Dehli: Lancer Publisher, 2008), 12, 41.

[61] Jackson, The Roots of Military Doctrine, 70, 73.

[62] Catherine O’Rourke and Aisling Swaine, “Gender, Violence and Reparations in Northern Ireland: A Story Yet to be Told,” The International Journal of Human Rights 21, no. 9 (2017): 1306.

[63]Headquarters, Department of the Army, Insurgencies and Countering Insurgencies, Change No. 1, FM 3-24, MCWP 3-33.5 (Washington D.C.: United States Army, 2014): 49, accessed on December 5, 2017.http://www.bits.de/NRANEU/others/amd-us-archive/fm3-24%2814%29.pdf

[64]Headquarters, Department of the Army, Insurgencies and Countering Insurgencies, 49.

[65] Megan Anderson, “Where are the Women? The Unfortunate Omission in the Army’s COIN Doctrine,” Modern War Institute at West Point (March 7, 2017): 1, accessed February 1. 2018.  https://mwi.usma.edu/women-unfortunate-omission-armys-coin-doctrine/

[66] Synne L. Dyvik, “Gender and Counterinsurgency,” in The Palgrave International Handbook of Gender and the Military, eds. Rachel Woodward and Clare Duncanson (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 324.

[67] Anderson, Where are the Women, 1.

[68] Anna C. Coll, “Evaluating Female Engagement Team Effectiveness in Afghanistan,” (Master’s Thesis, Wesley College Thesis Collection, 2012): 26. https://repository.wellesley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1068&context=thesiscollection

[69] Coll, Evaluating Female Engagement, 19.

[70]Anderson, Where are the Women, 1.

[71] Coll, Evaluating Female Engagement, 8, 21, 23, 26.

[72] Pedro Manrique, Zhenfeng Cao, Andrew Gabriel, John Horgan, Paul Gill, Hong Qi, Elvira M. Restrepro, Daniela Johnson, Stefan Wuchty, Chaoming Song, and Neil Johnson, “Women’s Connectivity in Extreme Networks,” Social Advances 2, no. 6 (2016): 1.

[73] Khalili, Gendered Practices of Counterinsurgency, 9.

[74] Khalili, Gendered Practices of Counterinsurgency, 9; T.S Allen, “David Galula, Franz Fanon and the Imperfect Lessons of the Algerian War,” Small Wars Journal 8, no. 6 (2014): 3.

[75] Manrique et al., Women’s Connectivity in Extreme Networks, 1.

[76] Anderson, Where are the Women, 1.

[77] Sue Malvern and Gabriel Koureas, “Terrorist Transgressions: Exploring the Gendered Representations of the Terrorist,” Historical Social Research 39, no. 3 (2014): 76. http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/14787/1/terroristtransgressions.pdf

[78] Headquarters, Department of Army, Tactics in Counterinsurgency FMI 3-24-2, Field Manual (Washington D.C.: Headquarter Department of Army, March 2009): 5-3, accessed on December 10, 2017. https://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fmi3-24-2.pdf

[79] Headquarters, Department of Army, Tactics in Counterinsurgency, 5-15.

[80]Hasan Ulusoy, “Possible Transformations of Collective Security Arrangements in the Post-September 11 Era,” Turkish Policy Quarterly (2003): 5, 11. http://turkishpolicy.com/images/stories/2003-01-postelectionTR/TPQ2003-1-ulusoy.pdf

[81] Ulusoy, Possible Transformations of Collective, 7.

[82] Hasan Ulusoy, “Revisiting Security Communities After the Cold War: The Constructivist Perspective,” SAM-Center for Strategic Studies, Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2003): 14.

[83] Ulusoy, Possible Transformations of Collective, 2.

[84] Jacobs and Jacobson, Introduction: States of Conflict, 1; Howard Caygill, On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013): 19.

[85] Caygill, On Resistance, 62.

[86] Miranda H. Alison, Women and Political Violence: Female Combatants in Ethno-National Conflict (New York: Routledge, 2009), 7.

[87] Malvern and Koureas, Terrorist Transgressions: Exploring, 72.

[88] Jacobs, Jacobson and  Marchbank, Introduction: States of Conflict, 11.

[89] Rogers Brubaker and David D. Laitin, “Ethnic and Nationalist Violence,” Annual Review of Sociology 24, (1998): 435.

[90] Aaron Edwards, Defending the Realm?: The Politics of Great Britain’s Small Wars Since 1945 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012), 189; Alison, Women and Political Violence,  3.

[91] National Army Museum, “The Troubles,” National Museum. (accessed October 10, 2018). https://www.nam.ac.uk/explore/troubles-1969-2007; “Soldier’s Stories #3,” YouTube, Video File (accessed October 10, 2018).

[92]Rory Finegan, “Shadowboxing in the Dark: Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism in Northern Ireland, Terrorism and Political Violence,” Terrorism and Political Violence 28, no. 3 (2016): 497, 499; Catherine O’Rourke and Aisling Swain, “Gender, Violence and Reparations in Northern Ireland: A Story Yet to be Told,” The International Journal of Human Rights 21, no. 9 (2017): 1306.

[93] Finegan, Shadowboxing in the Dark, 499.

[94] O’Rourke and Swain, Gender, Violence and Reparations, 1306.

[95] Bill Rolston, “Dealing With the Past: Pro-State Paramilitaries, Truth and Transition in Northern Ireland,” Human Rights Quarterly 28, no. 3 (2006): 662.

[96] Ní Aoláin, Situating Women in Counterterrorism, 1096.

[97] Ibid.

[98] Ibid.

[99] Andrew Sanders, “Operation Motorman (1972) and the Search for a Coherent British Counterinsurgency Strategy in Northern Ireland,” Small Wars and Insurgencies 24, no. 3 (2013): 466.

[100] O’Rourke and Swain, Gender, Violence and Reparations, 1306.

[101] ?

[102] Ibid.

[103] Rolston, Dealing With the Past, 662.

[104] Ní Aoláin, Situating Women in Counterterrorism, 1107.

[105] Ní Aoláin, Situating Women in Counterterrorism, 1097.

[106] Ibid.

[107] Rolston, Women on the Walls, 367.

[108] Ibid.

[109] Ibid.

[110] Ibid.

[111]O’Rourke and Swain, Gender, Violence and Reparations, 1312; Ruth Jacobson, “Whose Peace Process? Women’s Organisations and Political Settlement in Northern Ireland, 1996-1997,” University of Bradford, Department of Peace Studies (1997): 9,10; Blanchard, Gender, International Relations, and the Development, 1299.

[112] Miranda H. Alison, “Women as Agents of Political Violence: Gendering Security,” Security Dialogue 35, no. 4 (2004): 2.

[113] The Canadian Network for research on Terrorism, Security, and Society, “About: Overview,” 1, accessed January 5, 2018. http://tsas.ca/about-us/

[114] Ibid.

[115] Vennesson, Is Strategic Studies Narrow, 359.

[116] Gary Wills, “Critical Inquiry (“Kritik”) in Clausewitz,” Critical Inquiry 9, no. 2 (1982): 302.

[117] Jackson, The Roots of Military Doctrine, 11; Joep P. Cornelissen, “Preserving Theoretical Divergence in Management Research: Why the Explanatory Potential of Qualitative Research Should be Harnessed Rather than Suppressed.” Journal of Management Studies 54, no. 3 (2017): 371; Azrini Wahidin.  “The Irish Conflict” and the Experiences of Female Ex-Combatants in the Irish Republican Army: Power, Resistance and Subjectivity,” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 37, no. 9/10 (2017): 555.

[118] Robert Philips, “Terrorism: Historical Roots and Moral Justification,” in Terrorism, Protest and Power, eds. Martin Warner and Roger Crisp (England: Edward Elgar Publishing Company Limited, 1990), 75.

[119] Beatrice Heuser, The Evolution of Strategy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 503.

[120] Sara Koopman, “Peace as Plural: The Breakthrough Differential Approach in the Colombian Peace Accords,” Unpublished Work in Progress (2017): 11. 

[121]Koopman, Peace as Plural, 11.

[122]Neil Ferguson, “From Naïvety to Insurgency: Becoming a Paramilitary in Northern Ireland,“ in The Faces of Terrorism: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, ed. David Canter(New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2009),27.

[123] Caygill, On Resistance, 59, 64.

[124] Ibid., 65.

[125] The research project was to be completed within three years. A fourth year would have allowed me to further develop the concept of counter-resistance.

[126] For example, interviews with former members of the British Army would yield greater insight into the gender dynamics of counter-resistance. 

[127]Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, “Situating Women in Counterterrorism Discourses: Undulating Masculinities and Luminal Femininities,” Boston University Law Review, Vol. 93. No. 3 (2013): 1105. 

[128] Ní Aoláin, Situating Women in Counterterrorism, 1117, 1118.

[129] Wahidin, The Irish Conflict, 566.

[130] Ní Aoláin, Situating Women in Counterterrorism, 1103.

[131] Ibid., 1106

[132] Ibid.

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