Why a Feminist Standpoint Epistemology Is Necessary in Times of Hegemonic Masculinity: Thoughts on Intersectionality and Transrationality

  • Annette Weber


The chapter argues for a feminist political positioning and the need for space for marginal voices in times of hegemonic masculinity. The understanding of liberal feminist on equality by bringing women in does not suffice for a structural change in International Relations (IR) and conflict management. However, the expectations of essentialist feminists hoping for an inherent peacefulness of women as a dividing and shaping marker is equally proven simplistic. More is necessary, inclusion as well as a recognition of standpoints resulting from experience of those who are not the dominant subject in the respective context. Gender therefore is both, a social construct as well as an embodied reality in a masculinist world. This calls for a political standpoint epistemology, the recognition of power structures based on – as well as an ideal of overcoming – gender, race and class based categories of hegemonic dominance. Taking the approach of intersectionality as relational praxis, is not based on a model of access to experience in the formation of knowledge by any given individual. It much more calls for the acceptance of the non-accessibility of experience based on gender, race, class or sexual orientation by the respective dominant subject and the necessity of voice and existence in public and private, political and social spaces. Being an ally then becomes a political activity of support without taking the power of definition or the lead in articulation of experience. Only then can intersectional politics grow and the multitude of experience, voices and perspectives enrich the discourse – be it academic, political, spiritual or relational.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annette Weber
    • 1
  1. 1.Middle East and Africa DivisionGerman Institute for International and Security AffairsBerlinGermany

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