Family Values? Sexism and Heteronormativity in Feminist Evolutionary Analytic (FEA) Research

Review of International Studies (2018) doi:10.1017/S026021051800044X

Posted: 16 Feb 2019

See all articles by Helen M. Kinsella

Helen M. Kinsella

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Laura Sjoberg

University of Florida

Date Written: September 21, 2018

Abstract

In this article, we focus on the subset of evolutionary theorising self-identified as Feminist Evolutionary Analytic (FEA) within security studies and International Relations. We offer this accounting in four sections. First, we provide a brief overview of the argument that reproductive interests are the ‘origins’ of international violence. Second, we break down the definitions of gender, sex, and sexuality used in evolutionary work in security studies generally and in FEA specifically, demonstrating a lack of complexity in FEA’s accounts of the potential relations among the three and critiquing their essentialist heteronormative assumptions. Third, we argue that FEA’s failure to reflect on the history and context of evolutionary theorising, much less contemporary feminist critiques, facilitates its forwarding of the state and institutions as primarily neutral and corrective bulwarks against male violence. Fourth, we conclude by outlining what is at stake if we fail to correct for this direction in feminist, IR, and security research. We argue that FEA work misrepresents and narrows the potential for understanding and responding to violence, facilitating the continued instrumentalisation of women’s rights, increased government regulation of sexuality, and a more expansive form of militarism.

Keywords: Gender; Evolution; Feminism; War; Conflict; Terrorism

Suggested Citation

Kinsella, Helen M. and Sjoberg, Laura, Family Values? Sexism and Heteronormativity in Feminist Evolutionary Analytic (FEA) Research (September 21, 2018). Review of International Studies (2018) doi:10.1017/S026021051800044X, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3327976

Helen M. Kinsella

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities ( email )

1414 Social Sciences
267 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

HOME PAGE: http://cla.umn.edu/about/directory/profile/kins0017

Laura Sjoberg (Contact Author)

University of Florida ( email )

PO Box 117165, 201 Stuzin Hall
Gainesville, FL 32610-0496
United States

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