The "Man" Question in International Relations

In This Review

The "Man" Question in International Relations

Edited by Marysia Zalewski and Jane Parpart
Westview Press, 1997
219 pp. $59.00

There is an important book waiting to be written on the subject of gender and international relations, but this volume is unfortunately not it. Over the past generation, a huge body of research, mostly coming out of the natural sciences, has shown the powerful connections that exist between males and violence, aggression, competition in status hierarchies, group identity, and the like -- not just for human beings but also for some of our closest primate relatives. Rather than confronting such issues, this book chooses to focus instead on the utterly trivial question of why men dominate the study of international relations. All of the authors begin with the increasingly untenable premise that gender roles are socially constructed. But if masculine "roles" are not merely socially imposed identities but rooted in the genome, the "engendering" of international relations - - that is, its feminization -- will not be as easy as these writers assume.

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