“…we must realize that we don’t just inhabit the earth, but we are of the earth.”
– Toward an Integral Human Ecology, Maryknoll Society, 14th General Chapter, as quoted in Maryknoll Magazine, Spring 2022
The redefinition of security undertaken in this volume will be Earth centered in its conceptual explorations and contextualized within the existential threat of the climate crisis. An underlying assumption of the explorations is that we must profoundly change our thinking, about all aspects of security; first and foremost, about our planet and how the human species relates to it. The editors hope that feminists who are currently researching, reflecting about and acting on the Earth-human relationship will consider proposing a contribution to this volume.
This collection will explore concepts of security within a feminist framework of human security. It will address today’s most urgent security challenges from feminist perspectives, considering potential strategies to transform the global security system from one of endemic conflict/crisis to one of stable human security characterized by a sustainable planetary ecology, human agency, and responsible global citizenship. Proposals are due June 1.
A Call for Contributions to a Volume Redefining Security:
“Feminists Perspectives on Global Security: Confronting Convergent Existential Crises”
Editors: Betty A. Reardon, Asha Hans, Soumita Basu and Yuuka Kagayma
Publisher: Peace Knowledge Press
The shifting of the geopolitical ground from which unprecedented convergent global crises challenge the world power structures has thrown the security establishment dangerously off balance. There is a growing recognition that the dominant state security paradigm is dysfunctional. A widening of the security discourse presents possibilities for serious consideration of alternatives. Feminist security perspectives seek to illuminate global crises, so as to inspire ways of thinking about global security that are more conducive to the survival of humanity and our planet. This collection is intended to explore some of those ways of thinking and potential strategies of change to transform the global security system from endemic conflict/crisis into stable human security consistent based on ecological health and human agency and responsibility.
The central inquiry of the collection is, “How do the three most urgent and widely recognized existential global crises and their systemic interrelationships impact the experience of and possibilities for human security, now and throughout the twenty-first century?”
The inquiry pursued through a feminist-futurist lens will explore a comprehensive problematic comprised of interactions among and between: the climate emergency (inter alia, the consequences of the objectification of the natural world, and the human fallacy of the “technological fix”); war and weaponry (i.a. analyzing the nature and purposes of the institution of war and the “weapons culture”); and gender apartheid (i.a. the systemic disempowerment of women as the root of patriarchal authoritarianism characterized by the inequality and injustice of global economic structures, colonialism and multiple forms of racial, religious and ethnic oppression).
Presented within the perspective of the convergence of the three crises and the need to address them within a framework of their systemic interrelationships, the work will comprise three parts: 1) an editors’ framing introduction, 2) three substantive sections of contributed chapters, each of which respectively will focus inquiries into one of the three crises analyzed in terms of its inter-linkages to the other two, and 3) an editors’ conclusion, integrating the problem analyses and summarizing suggested directions for action to address the problems in a general strategy for change within the framework of the holistic-organic, feminist-futurist thinking, as alternatives to the dominant security thinking of the rationalist-reductionist, present-centered patriarchal paradigm.
Contributions for Section 2 are solicited for essays derived from feminist research on women’s experience of security, work toward alternative security systems, and feminist proposals for the resolution of the three crises as steps toward the achievement of a global human security system.
The individual chapters will demonstrate that these crises have mutually reinforcing effects, as global capital combines with militaristic mindsets, inextricably linked to the inequalities of gender apartheid and abusive exploitation of the planet. We seek essays that explore the multiple interrelationships among the crises and the need to analyze them within the context of their convergence. The editors will locate each chapter within the comprehensive framework outlined in Section 1, and initiate a discourse on it significance to the achievement of human security by posing post chapter queries, an inquiry to be summarized as the basis for a strategy for practical action to be put forth in Section 3.
Climate Crisis: The Planet at Risk
The climate emergency resulting from failure to reduce carbon emissions, diminishing of bio-diversity resulting from misguided development and environmentally destructive technologies pervades and exacerbates the other two crises. It is the most evident and urgent threat to human security. In an age when the world community has agreed to standards of ecological responsibility, states respond with measures for short term mitigation rather than long-range change to overcome economic injustice and Earth damaging consumption, and weaponizing resources. Ecological responsibility calls for the demilitarization of security as a necessity to save the planet.
Contributions to be considered: For this section, we seek essays that demonstrate and document the integral relationship between the climate emergency and the crisis of a dysfunctional militarized security system, or address the lack of women’s participation and feminist perspective in states’ approaches to the climate crisis. Articles focusing on the Global South, where communities are experiencing the worst climate-related poverty and increasing deprivation, offering feminist analyses or exploring ways to confront the emergency that are conducive to the survival of humanity and our planet will be especially welcome.
War and Weapons Crisis: The Imperative of Security System Change
The state-centered global security system has been so preoccupied by threat perception that all other requirements are smothered by the militarist modes of threat response, keeping war embedded as a constant feature of political systems. Re-enforced by social-cultural attitudes, war is a given of the human condition. Consequently, a narrow framing of the women, peace, and security discourse is more preoccupied with issues of women’s participation and prevention of gender violence than on paths to the abolition of war. Feminist discussions of environment-development interrelationships seldom address the links between militarism, environmental degradation that exacerbate gender inequality. A holistic assessment of the fundamental problematic of war requires consideration of the full range of these interrelationships that comprise the war system. Essays will provide such assessment as the foundation for feminist proposals for alternatives to war.
Contributions to be considered: For this section, we seek essays to illuminate the interrelationships between the urgencies of climate emergency and militarized security and the gains to be made in moving toward actual human security by redefining human security and proposing alternatives to war and armed conflict that would, as well, increase Earth security.
Gender Apartheid: The Crisis of the Patriarchal Paradigm
The phrase “gender apartheid” is used to designate the general system of oppressive separations with its negative effects on both oppressed and oppressor of patriarchal gender segregation. Patriarchy is a power arrangement far broader than sex role separations. It is the political paradigm for most human institutions, a hierarchy in which almost all women suffer a power deficit and lack of participation in most realms of public policy that reverberates in the multiple deficits endured by all, men and women, excluded from the top of the hierarchy. It underlies the inequalities of the global political and economic systems.
The proliferation of environmental disasters, armed struggles, and ideological conflicts have brought more severe segregation, evident as more states fall under the influence of fundamentalist authoritarianisms of various ideologies and religions. The consequent increasing reduction in the human security of women clearly reveals the significant security deficit in the existing security system, and the corollary imperative of a search for a gender just alternative.
Contributions to be considered: For this section, we invite essays that present feminist analyses of the militarized security system, demonstrate the benefits of women’s participation in climate and security policymaking, cases studies that illustrate women’s effective climate action or experiments with human security politics, and/or propose feminist alternatives to present climate and security policies and systems.
Submitting Possible Contributions