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Kevin Keenan: Gender Aspects of Terrorism in Urban Spaces [Abstract]

Theoretical development within gender studies and terrorism studies has occurred along the axes of identity, material and spatial power and inequality, and geography. Gender scholars have been concerned with the transformation of oppressive political structures, with increased inequality and understanding how gender structures limit women’s opportunities, and with the role of separate geographical and social spheres in shaping outcomes. Terrorism scholars have conceptualized terror as a political process, the result largely of economic inequality and to some extent, gender structures, and they have articulated a role for urban space in conceptualizing interventionist policy to ameliorate the terrorist threat. This paper traces the development of these theoretical traditions, pointing out the thematic similarities, but also the dissimilar objects of inquiry. A review of the scholarship where gender informs terrorism studies points the way to future development of scholarship around (1) solving the global terrorism problem by further understanding gender structures for both men and women; (2) the role of urban and non-urban spaces as the backdrop for terrorist recruitment and formation processes; and (3) how gender is likely to affect actual survival for gendered urban populations when terrorism occurs.

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