Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

In Harm's Way: A Systemic Analysis of Sexual Violence Against Women Peace Workers
by HaileSelasse, Rachael, M.A., The American University of Paris (France), 2012, 70; 10305814
Abstract (Summary)

During a 2009 investigation of the homicide of volunteer Kate Puzey, the Peace Corps was under intense international scrutiny. Dozens of women came forward reporting that they were raped while volunteering for the agency and that many times, the Peace Corps failed to respond to the situation safely or safely. ABC news, CNN, CBS and Ebony magazine helped make the ‘PC Scandal’ public in 2011.

Using the work of Anna Agathangelou, Cynthia Enloe, Selma James, Wendy Lynne Lee, Obioma Nnaemeka, and other feminist and IR theorists, I offer an analysis that goes beyond the Peace Corp as a singular institution. Through feminist IR theory, performative gender theory, feminism’s use of Marx’s historical sociology, and post-colonial theory I contextualize the agency in a framework of development work with a culture and history that influences how decisions are made and how power is maintained.

Gender is performed at the Peace Corps in order to maintain certain relationships and reputations of power. The gendered concept of volunteering is historically dependent on the advantages that women’s services provide to greater economic processes. I hypothesize that there is a culture of development practices regarding women, (recruiting, training, compensation, institutional resources or support mechanisms) and that the origins of certain practices dictate institutional toleration and often perpetuation of violence against women.

The current Peace Corps scandal signals a larger disharmony of power within global development: hegemony is still the relation of the day and peace comes last to women. It reveals that international development has work to do in exemplifying principles of social justice. As civil society plays an increasing role in global governance, it is critical that the international community of state governments, IGOs, NGOs the media, and the global public develop an awareness of and committed action to the fidelity of development work.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor:
Commitee:
School: The American University of Paris (France)
Department: International Affairs
School Location: France
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: International Relations
Keywords: Harm, Peace, Sexual, Violence, Women, Workers
Publication Number: 10305814
ISBN: 978-1-369-49378-8
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