SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar interrogates law on force from a feminist perspective in latest book

28 June 2013

Dr Gina Heathcote, a lecturer at SOAS, University of London interrogates international law on force from a feminist perspective in her latest book.

The Law on the Use of Force, published by Routledge, uses feminist understandings to examine the role of law in the production of sex and gender.

Dr Heathcote develops two specific methods to examine sex and gender constructs that emerge from broader feminist reflections, specifically the use of domestic analogy and a law as a narrative technique.

In the domestic analogy, Dr Heathcote examines accounts of interpersonal violence alongside international justifications for violence to demonstrate the patriarchal underpinnings of the international laws on the use of force.

The law as a narrative entails non-legal examples to understand the impact of the law, drawing on various scenarios to demonstrate how women live with the fear of potential violence and internalise a degree of responsibility for external threats.

The legal scholar asks why the law provides excuses and justifications for some behaviour and not others, what role does law plays in the social dialogues and norms that are accepted in reality and how do justifications for individual violence and force – challenged by feminist scholarship as sexed and gendered – re-emerge in international justifications for the use of force?

The Law on the Use of Force is available to order via the Routledge website.