Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

Mobilizing Gender to Promote Peace: The Case of Machsom Watch

Qualitative Sociology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

The binary model that presents women as peaceful and men as warfaring is a common conception of war and peace. Despite increasing levels of gender equality in most spheres of public life and decreasing gender segregation in institutions in many parts of the world, the associational link of men to war and women to peace remains widespread. Focusing on the Israeli women’s peace organization, Machsom Watch, this article uses a content analysis of interactions between Machsom Watch activists, soldiers and Palestinians to examine how gendered political opportunity structures affect and are affected by interactions between individuals, organizations and institutions. The paper highlights the contradiction between Machsom Watch’s form as a women-only organization and their framing and report language, which is non-gender specific. I argue that this contradiction emerges from their strategic negotiation of the gendered political opportunity structure as well as their culturally bounded experiences of gendered interactions and embodied gender norms. More generally, I argue that by understanding political opportunity structures as being bound by cultural norms that create distinct sets of opportunities and constraints for different groups of people, scholars can better understand the particular manifestation of social movement action and thereby more fully account for human agency in social and political structures. Additionally, this paper encourages social movement scholars to understand social movement framing as both a product of political opportunities and constraints as well as an influence in the formation of the political opportunity structure.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Notes

  1. Machsom means checkpoint in Hebrew.

  2. In 2004 the group’s membership was identified as 500 (Naaman 2006). Observation reports suggest that the group has gotten smaller since that time but numbers are not publically available.

  3. On average there are 4–10 reports a day, depending on how many volunteers are available, the weather and season, and the day of the week. Reports cover more than fifty checkpoints.

References

  • Alimi, Eitan Y. 2009. Mobilizing under the gun: Theorizing political opportunity structure in a highly repressive setting. Mobilization 14: 219–237.

    Google Scholar 

  • Benford, Robert D., and David A. Snow. 2000. Framing processes and social movements: An overview and assessment. Annual Review of Sociology 26: 611–639.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Berger, Ronald J. 2010. Jewish Americans and the Holocaust. Contexts 9: 40–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bernstein, Deborah S. 2005. Daughters of the nation: Between the public and private spheres in pre-state Israel. In Israeli women’s studies, ed. E. Fuchs, 78–95. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, Alice H. 2002. Media framing and social movement mobilization: German peace protest against INF missiles, the Gulf War, and NATO peace enforcement in Bosnia. European Journal of Political Research 41: 37–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Deutsch-Nadir, Sharon. 2005. Capitalizing on women’s traditional roles in Israeli peace activism: A comparison between women in black and checkpoint watch. Tufts University.

  • Diani, Mario. 1996. Linking mobilization frames and political opportunities: Insights from regional populism in Italy. American Sociological Review 61: 1053–1069.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ferree, Myra M., and Carol M. Mueller. 2004. Feminism and the women’s movement: A global perspective. In The Blackwell Companion to social movements, ed. D.S. Snow, S. Soule, and H. Kreisi, 576–607. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Franceschet, Susan. 2004. Explaining social movement outcomes—Collective action frames and strategic choices in first- and second-wave feminism in Chile. Comparative Political Studies 37: 499–530.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gordon, Neve. 2002. An antiwar movement grows in Israel. Nation 274: 24.

    Google Scholar 

  • Haberfeld, Yinon, and Yitzchak Cohen. 2007. Gender, ethnic, and national earnings gaps in Israel: The role of rising inequality. Social Science Research 36: 654–672.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hafner-Burton, Emilie M. 2008. Sticks and stones: Naming and shaming the human rights enforcement problem. International Organization 62: 689–716.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Herzog, Hanna. 2004. Family-military relations in Israel as a genderizing social mechanism. Armed Forces & Society 31: 5–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Herzog, Hanna. 2005. Homefront and battlefront: The status of Jewish and Palestinian women in Israel. In Israeli women’s studies, ed. E. Fuchs, 208–228. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaufman, Ilana. 2008. Resisting occupation or institutionalizing control? Israeli women and protest in west bank checkpoints. International Journal of Peace Studies 13: 43–62.

    Google Scholar 

  • Keshet, Yehudit. 2006. Machsom Watch—a brief history. http://archive.machsomwatch.org/docs/MachsomWatchBriefHistoryEng.pdf. Accessed 17 June 2010.

  • Koopmans, Ruud. 2005. The missing link between structure and agency: Outline of an evolutionary approach to social movements. Mobilization 10: 19–35.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kutz-Flamenbaum, Rachel V. 2007. Code pink, raging grannies, and the missile dick chicks: Feminist performance activism in the contemporary anti-war movement. National Women’s Studies Association Journal 19: 89–105.

    Google Scholar 

  • Levin, David. 2005. Framing peace policies: The competition for resonant themes. Political Communication 22: 83–108.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lomsky-Feder, Edna, and Tamar Rapoport. 2003. Juggling models of masculinity: Russian-Jewish immigrants in the Israeli army. Sociological Inquiry 73: 114–137.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Machsom Watch. 2011. About Us. http://www.machsomwatch.org/en/about-us. Accessed 11 June 2011.

  • Maney, Gregory M., Lynne M. Woehrle, and Patrick G. Coy. 2005. Harnessing and challenging hegemony: The U.S. Peace Movement after 9/11. Sociological Perspectives 48: 357–381.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mayer, Tamar. 2005. From zero to hero: Masculinity in Jewish Nationalism. In Israeli women’s studies, ed. E. Fuchs, 97–117. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Naaman, Dorit. 2006. The silenced outcry: A feminist perspective from the Israeli checkpoints in Palestine. National Women’s Studies Association Journal 18: 168–180.

    Google Scholar 

  • Noonan, Rita K. 1995. Women against the state—political opportunities and collective action frames in Chiles transition to democracy. Sociological Forum 10: 81–111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roth, Kenneth. 2004. Defending economic, social and cultural rights: Practical issues faced by an international human rights organization. Human Rights Quarterly 26: 63–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sasson-Levy, Orna. 2002. Constructing identities at the margins: Masculinities and citizenship in the Israeli army. The Sociological Quarterly 43: 357–383.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sasson-Levy, Orna. 2003. Feminism and military gender practices: Israeli women soldiers in “masculine” roles. Sociological Inquiry 73: 440–465.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sasson-Levy, Orna. 2007. Contradictory consequences of mandatory conscription—The case of women secretaries in the Israeli military. Gender and Society 21: 481–507.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Segal, Lynne. 2008. Gender, war and militarism: Making and questioning the links. Feminist Review 88: 21–35.

  • Sharoni, Simona. 1998. The myth of gender equality and the limits of women’s political dissent in Israel. Middle East Report 207: 24–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Svirsky, Gila. 2003. The women’s peace movement in Israel. In Jewish feminism in Israel: Some contemporary perspectives, ed. K. Misra and M.S. Rich, 113–131. Hanover: Brandeis University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tarrow, Sidney. 1998. Power in movement: Social movements and contentious politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • West, Candace, and Don Zimmerman. 1987. Doing gender. Gender and Society 1: 125–151.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Machsom Watch Reports (Accessed at http://machsomwatch.org/en/daily-reports/checkpoints, Accessed 3 March 2010):

  • MachsomWatch. November 16, 2009a. Al Nashshash, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Huwwara.

  • MachsomWatch. October 5, 2009b. ‘Anabta, ‘Azzun, Ras ‘Atiya.

  • MachsomWatch. August 11, 2009c. Anin, Jalama, Reihan, Shaked.

  • MachsomWatch. March 10, 2009d. ‘Awarta, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za’tara (Tapuah).

  • MachsomWatch. November 15, 2009e. ‘Azzun ‘Atma, Beit Furik, Huwwara, Za’tara (Tapuah).

  • MachsomWatch. March 8, 2009f. ‘Azzun ‘Atma, Huwwara, Za’tara (Tapuah).

  • MachsomWatch. October 19, 2009g. Beit Ummar, Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis.

  • MachsomWatch. December 29, 2009h. Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Nabi Yunis, Nuaman.

  • MachsomWatch. December 31, 2009i. Eyal Crossing, ‘Anabta, Eliyahu Crossing, Irtah (Sha’ar Efrayim), Za’tara (Tapuah).

  • MachsomWatch. November 2, 2009j. Hizma, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya.

  • MachsomWatch. June 13, 2009k. Huwwara, Za’tara (Tapuah).

  • MachsomWatch. April 15, 2009l. Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya.

  • MachsomWatch. November 22, 2009m. Jalama, Reihan, Shaked.

  • MachsomWatch. November 10, 2009n. Qalandiya.

  • MachsomWatch. October 25, 2009o. Qalandiya.

Download references

Acknowledgment

I would like to thank Amy Traver, Jackie Smith, the four anonymous reviewers and the editors of Qualitative Sociology for their thoughtful and incisive feedback on previous drafts of this manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rachel V. Kutz-Flamenbaum.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kutz-Flamenbaum, R.V. Mobilizing Gender to Promote Peace: The Case of Machsom Watch. Qual Sociol 35, 293–310 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-012-9231-7

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11133-012-9231-7

Keywords

Navigation