Connectedly, I am interested in feminist research methodology, and in how activist claims and practices can be illuminated by, and also contribute to, sociological scholarship on movements and International Relations theory, especially debates in critical security studies and critical international political economy.
My research is currently organised into three themes:
1) Engendering Protest Camps: This research, near completion, investigates the protest camp phenomenon from a feminist perspective, with a particular empirical focus on Faslane peace camp (ongoing, https://faslanepeacecamp.wordpress.com/) and Occupy Glasgow/Edinburgh camps (of Autumn 2011). There has been little academic analysis of these camps, notwithstanding the longevity and local importance of the Faslane camp; the high media profile of the shorter-lived Occupy camps; and the existence of a large scholarly literature on the peace camps of the 1980s, on the worldwide Occupy phenomenon of 2011, and on the social movement tactic of establishing protest camps. Moreover, this existing literature has not explored whether and in what ways gender or feminism, both so high profile in the peace camp politics of the 1980s, play a role in shaping protest camps today. My research responds to both lacunae, and consists of interview data collected 2014-16, and archival research on movement ephemera; it has been published in International Feminist journal of Politics, Security Dialogues and Social Movement Studies.
2) Feminism in/against Neoliberalism: I am at the early stages of developing this research project, with Bice Maiguashca of Exeter University. It will explore how feminism as a political subject is challenging or being reshaped by neoliberalism, in response to the recent surge of literature on the changing face/s of neoliberalism on a global scale and its discontents. Arguments about the emergence of a post-Washington consensus have, it seems, now given way to claims that neoliberalism is in crisis and/or intensifying; thus Wendy Brown argues that neoliberal rationality is remaking individual subjectivity to the extent that democracy itself is undone. In this context we have seen a growing critique within feminism of the hazards of co-optation, accompanied by a smaller counter-narrative on the possibilities for feminist disruption of neoliberal logics. This project seeks to bring together both lines of enquiry in the contemporary conjuncture and to question the parameters of debate. Thus far, we have coordinated panels on this theme at the International Studies Association annual convention, British Political Studies Association annual conference and the European Feminist Research Conference, all in 2018, and contributed a review paper to the new European Journal of Politics and Gender.
3) Gender, Feminism and (Anti-)Nuclear Politics in the Post-Cold War World. This on-going, on-off research takes as its starting point the Cold War feminist argument that the nuclear state is sustained in part through gendered identity claims and rhetoric – and that anti-nuclear struggle must therefore challenge and recreate gendered relationships and symbolic systems. I aim to update this argument for the post-Cold War world, both theoretically and empirically. To this end, I seek to think through the implications for scholarship and activism opposed to nuclear weapons of recent anti-essentialist feminist arguments about multiple masculinities and femininities, shifting in their character and impact over time and space, produced through anti-nuclear politics rather than preceding it. And I am particularly interested in tracking shifting feminist influence on the embodied protest tactics, normative visions and identifications of anti-nuclear activists. In this connection, I have published articles critiquing British nuclear policy and reframing the relationship between women and anti-nuclear activism. More recently I have presented a couple of conceptual papers on feminism and (anti-)nuclear politics at academic workshops, and (drawing on the empirical research undertaken for the first project described above) I have published on the gendered identities and 'everyday security practices' of anti-nuclear activists