Gender Identity and the Subject of Security

Monday, September 10, 2012
Gundhild Hoogensen and Svein Vigeland

This article is a contribution to the ongoing debate on human security in Security Dialogue; the authors argue that they provide an illustration of the complexity and dynamism of security. To illustrate this point, the authors examine security through the notion of societal security as understood by Ole Wæver, and use identity as a ‘door' to a broader understanding and use of the concept of security. The focus of the article is gender identity as an integral perspective of security. In conjunction with elite-defined state interests, identity articulates the security interests of ‘significant groups', supporting the articulation of security needs by individuals (as they identify themselves with various significant groups) and communities. Gender is identified as a ‘significant group' relevant to the security dynamic. Using gender identity to understand security requires breaking down rigid and fundamental structures that have been built around traditional notions of security, allowing for articulations of security as it is understood by individuals in general and by women in particular.

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