Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.


Durham Research Online
You are in:

‘The admixture of feminine weakness and susceptibility’ : gendered personifications of the state in international law.

O'Donoghue, Aoife (2018) '‘The admixture of feminine weakness and susceptibility’ : gendered personifications of the state in international law.', Melbourne journal of international law., 19 (1). pp. 227-258.

Abstract

19th century international law textbooks were infused with the gendered personification of states. Legal academics, such as Johann Casper Bluntschli, John Westlake, Robert Phillimore and James Lorimer, relied on gendered personification to ascribe attributes to states. Masculine states, reasonable, bounded and strong, were the backbone of Western civilisation, while feminine states were irrational, permeable and lacking in the reasonability necessary for full statehood. Britannia may have represented the British Empire at its zenith but the allegory was not intended as a rallying call for women’s political participation. John Bull represented the actuality of citizenship. Recent scholarship recognises the import of 19th century international legal academia to contemporary law. This article argues that the personifications, which suffused the writings of these authors, set the terms in which contemporary international law understands statehood. Explicitly gendered language may no longer be invoked but the terms of statehood remain sexed. When scholars return to the writings of 19th century international legal academia, attention to the negative gendered bequests of the era is required.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
File format - PDF
(821Kb)
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF (Unpaginated version)
(687Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://law.unimelb.edu.au/mjil/issues/issue-archive/191
Date accepted:08 May 2018
Date deposited:14 May 2018
Date of first online publication:31 July 2018
Date first made open access:22 April 2019

Save or Share this output

Export:
Export
Look up in GoogleScholar