© 2018

Collective Consciousness and Gender


  • Discusses the theory of collective consciousness

  • Applies collective consciousness theory to the pursuit of gender justice in international law

  • Examines how collective modes of behaviour can lead to unconscious 'role-play'


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Collective Consciousness in Theory

  3. Collective Consciousness in Practice: Gender in International Law

  4. Back Matter
    Pages 293-354

About this book


This book explores collective consciousness and how it is applied to the pursuit of gender justice in international law. It discusses how the collective mode of behaviour and identity can lead to unconscious role-playing based on the social norms, expectations or archetypes of a group. Alexandra Walker contends that throughout history, men have been constructed as archetypal dominators and women as victims. In casting women in this way, we have downplayed their pre-existing, innate capacities for strength, leadership and power. In casting men as archetypal dominators, we have downplayed their capacities for nurturing, care and empathy. 

The author investigates the widespread implications of this unconscious role-playing, arguing that even in countries in which women have many of the same legal rights as men, gender justice and equality have been too simplistically framed as ‘feminism’ and ‘women’s rights’ and that giving women the rights of men has not created gender balance. This book highlights the masculine and feminine traits belonging to all individuals and calls on international law to reflect this gender continuum.


Analytical psychology CEDAW Collective consciousness Collective self Gender-based violence Feminist theory International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Men’s rights and Women's rights studies Social psychology Sociology of human consciousness Gender Studies

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Social ImpactUNSW AustraliaSydneyAustralia

About the authors

Alexandra Walker is a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact, University of New South Wales, Australia. She has practiced law and her research focuses on human rights and leadership.

Bibliographic information