Gender, Violence, and the Micro-Processes of Mobilization
This chapter summarizes the three main theoretical contributions of Women in War. First, the gender focus of this book brings novel insights to studies of political violence. Interested publics do not always perceive political violence as “radical.” It also may be considered “righteous.” Mobilizing imagery from the existing sexual order is therefore a powerful means by which almost any violent organization can shape its public face, and may help explain why individuals chose to join violent organizations in the first place. Second, this book extends existing explanations of why women’s gender-bending participation in “radical” movements seldom brings about broader gender changes. It questions whether women are really attracted to radical activism by emancipatory goals in the first place, and suggests instead that women may be propelled to radical activism when they embrace, rather than reject, conservative gender norms. Third, modelling micro-level processes of mobilization is both feasible and desirable. The identity-based model introduced in this book helps scholars understand which macro- and meso-level factors matter for mobilization, how current movement members strategically appropriate those factors to recruit new participants, and what are the various (yet still parsimonious) paths that individuals may follow when joining, participating in, and leaving a movement.
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