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Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics [Updated Edition] updated Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520229129
ISBN-10: 0520229126
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bananas, Beaches and Bases is the most significant book in contemporary feminist international politics. In my view, it is the essential text not only for feminist international politics courses but for anyone interested in starting to understand just how International Politics really works." - Marysia Zalewski, author of Feminism After Postmodernism: Theorising Through Practice "A new edition of Bananas, Beaches and Bases is cause for cosmic good cheer. This trailblazing treatment of the gender politics of global market and military projects is a feminist classic. Always ahead of the curve, before globalization had achieved cache in academic circles, Enloe was there, cajoling Western feminists out of our political parochialism. There is no more creative, insightful, engaging feminist guide to international politics." - Judith Stacey, author of Brave New Families "Bananas, Beaches and Bases is both a 'Pandora's box' and a roadmap. As the 'magna carta' of Feminist International Relations, it has helped create a new generation of women and men in the world of international relations." - Katharine Moon,author of Sex Among Allies "With this volume, Cynthia Enloe single-handedly carved out a major new field. Combining contemporary political insight and historical sensitivity, Bananas, Beaches and Bases revealed the gendered workings of high politics, without which the entire machinery of war, diplomacy and governance would have long since collapsed. A pioneering tour-de-force." - Philippa Levine,author of Victorian Feminism, 1850-1900"

From the Inside Flap

"I have no hesitation in describing Bananas, Beaches and Bases as the most significant book in contemporary feminist International Politics. Each time I re-visit it, I am taken aback by its profound implications for both feminism and International Politics. The deceptively provocative question at its core—'where are the women?'—irrevocably transforms our views about what the central and important landscape of global politics is. In my view, it is the essential text not only for feminist International Politics courses but for anyone interested in starting to understand just how International Politics really works."—Marysia Zalewski, author of Feminism After Postmodernism: Theorising Through Practice

"A new edition of Bananas, Beaches, and Bases is cause for cosmic good cheer. This trailblazing treatment of the gender politics of global market and military projects is a feminist classic. Always ahead of the curve, before globalization had achieved cache in academic circles Enloe was there, cajoling Western feminists out of our political parochialism. There is no more creative, insightful, engaging feminist guide to international politics. Cynthia Enloe is an international feminist treasure, and Bananas, Beaches, and Bases her signature work."—Judith Stacey, author of Brave New Families

"Bananas, Beaches, and Bases is both a ‘Pandora's Box’ and a roadmap: It unleashes questions and insights that many conventional students of International Politics are accustomed to ignoring or overlooking about the dynamic between gender and international political life, and it guides us to see how both are mutually constitutive. As the "magna carta" of Feminist International Relations, it has helped create a new generation of women and men in the world of international relations."—Katharine Moon, author of Sex Among Allies

"Cynthia Enloe writes with passion, conviction, intelligence and verve as she makes such good feminist sense of international politics that the world never looks quite the same again. Innovative and a great read, Bananas, Beaches and Bases continues to be an outstanding example of the difference gender makes in social analysis. This is a book which provokes discussion with students, colleagues, friends and family. It is a book which has set the standard form much that followed. A classic."—Diane Bell, author of Ngarrindjeri Wurrurwarrin: A World That Is, Was, and Will Be

"With this volume, Cynthia Enloe single-handedly carved out a major new field. Combining contemporary political insight and historical sensitivity, Bananas, Beaches and Bases revealed the gendered workings of high politics, without which the entire machinery of war, diplomacy and governance would have long since collapsed. A pioneering tour-de-force."—Philippa Levine, author of Victorian Feminism, 1850-1900
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; updated edition (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520229126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520229129
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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What do nationalism, Chiquita bananas and Mexican garment factories have in common? In Cynthia Enloe's trailblazing book, they illuminate the interplay between global politics and women. Few scholars have investigated why and how international politics and global trade shape definitions of masculinity and femininity; this book does that and more, providing new perspectives on the gendering of power. For Enloe, power imbues the cultural, social and economic interactions that gird global politics; "relationships we once imagined were private or merely social are in fact infused with power, usually unequal power backed up by public authority (p.195)." Here, Enloe extends the analytical approach Friedan used in The Feminine Mystique (1963), which considered the connection between feminine stereotypes and evolving US global power and security interests. Enloe pushes Friedan's analysis into a global context and brings into sharper focus the way public politics are masculinized via the control of women's activities.
Each of the chapters in Enloe's book explores a different theme -- from tourism to US military bases -- in order to demonstrate how the personal is political and the political is personal. Enloe most successfully draws out the linkages between domestic life and public authority in her chapters on nationalism, banana republics and garment factories. Looking at the experiences of women in places as diverse as Sri Lanka and Palestine, Enloe finds women asserting a sense of national identity that conflicts with their feminine roles of tending home and children. Even more problematic, if increased militarization creates an emphasis on communal unity, issues of sexual inequality are often discounted; thus, the nation is redefined, but in a masculinized form.
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An excellent book for anyone interested in feminism, international politics, or simply if you want an informative and interesting non-fiction book. The pressing question of BB&B is: "'Where are the women at?'" Cynthia Enloe takes the reader on a tour of some international hot topics and explores this question. Terrific book and I could not put it down. For a long time I had been searching for a feminist critique of the military, etc and I found exactly what I was looking for here.
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By J on December 8, 2002
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I've been studying international politics and gender issues for some time but they've always been presented as separate subjects. To find a cohesive, academic work integrating the two was fabulous. Her work is jointly informative and interesting providing enough theory to be of academic interest and enough examples to exceed the category of a mere textbook. Highly recommend this!
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Verified Purchase
I've been studying international politics and gender issues for some time but they've always been presented as separate subjects. To find a cohesive, academic work integrating the two was fabulous. Her work is jointly informative and interesting providing enough theory to be of academic interest and enough examples to exceed the category of a mere textbook. Highly recommend this!
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This book is a study of international politics through the lens of women who influence husbands who happen to be the major power brokers within the international system. Enloe also studies how third world women are used as expressions of sexual and national power through agribusiness, tourism, and military bases.

This work is enlightening because it examines the quiet yet immensely influential role women play within the geopolitical economic system. Enloe's main thesis is that the personal is political, therefore the power plays within international politics correlates strongly with the power struggles within the personal relationships between men and women. Unfortunately where Enloe falls short is her narrow definition of masculinity and femininity. Ultimately she defines them as pillars of power, rather than the embodiment of choices. The truth is when it comes to these kind of dichotomized debates, the answers are usually a bit more nuanced.

First, what isn't clear is Enloe's use of the term `political' in which she also uses interchangeably to mean `economical'. The problem is if you don't clearly distinguish between the two it becomes difficult to identify who is a genuine victim of the vicissitudes of international political fiat, versus those who are freely making choices deciding between trade offs in an environment limited by scarcity. Enloe commits this fallacy because she views today's market system as a form of neo-mercantilism. In some cases she may be right but nevertheless it's still important to make the distinction because if the personal is political and the political is economical, why should the political/economical be of concern to anyone if the source of it all is personal, and people are completely happy with their personal choices?
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