International Politics

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

Why Just War Needs Feminism Now More Than Ever

  • Laura Sjoberg


This article notes the just war tradition's difficulty adapting to 21st century warfare, its susceptibility to political appropriation, its lack of conceptual clarity, and its blindness to the gender subordination inherent in its theoretical assumptions. Still, just war theory cannot be discarded — it is a ‘necessary evil,’ due to both its popularity in political discourse and the necessity of having a framework for ethical analysis of war. This article proposes a feminist reinterpretation of just war theory as the revitalization that just war theory needs. It explains this feminist just war theory based on relational autonomy, political marginality, empathy, and care. It introduces some feminist ‘standards’ for considering the morality of war. After brief applicatory explorations into the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, it concludes by arguing that the added normative strength and explanatory power coming from a feminist perspective is something just war theory sorely needs, now more than ever.


just war feminism war on terror Iraq Afghanistan 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Sjoberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityVirginiaUSA

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