Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics

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9780044403685: Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics

This radical new analysis of international politics reveals the crucial role of women in implementing governmental foreign policies, be it Soviet Glasnost, Britain's dealings in the EEC, or the NATO alliance. Cynthia Enloe pulls back the curtain on the familiar scenes—governments restricting imported goods, bankers negotiating foreign loans, soldiers serving overseas—and shows that the real landscape is less exclusively male.

Bananas, Beaches and Bases shows how thousands of women tailor their marriages to fit the demands of state secrecy; how foreign policy would grind to a halt without secretaries to handle money transfers or arms shipments; and how women are working in hotels and factories around the world in order to service their governments' debts.

Enloe also challenges common assumptions about what constitutes "international politics." She explains, for example, how turning tacos and sushi into bland fast foods affects relations between affluent and developing countries, and why a multinational banana company needs the brothel outside its gates. And she argues that shopping at Benneton, wearing Levis, working as a nanny (or employing one) or planning a vacation are all examples of foreign policy in action.

Bananas, Beaches and Bases does not ignore our curiosity about arms dealers, the President's men or official secrets. But it shows why these conventional clues are not sufficient for understanding how the international political system works. In exposing policymakers' reliance on false notions of "feminity" and "masculinity," Enloe dismantles a seemingly overwhelming world system, exposing it to be much more fragile and open to change than we are usually led to believe.

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From the Back Cover:

"This is the work of a well-travelled feminist mulling over the inequalities of the postmodern world. In a lively overview of tourism, the food industry, army bases, nationalism, diplomacy, global factories, and domestic work, Enloe persuasively argues that gender is key to the workings of international relations."-Aihwa Ong, University of California, Berkeley

About the Author:

Cynthia Enloe is Professor of Government and International Relations at Clark University and is the author of many books, including Does Khaki Become You? The Militarization of Women's Lives and Ethnic Soldiers: State Security in Divided Societies.
Cynthia Enloe won the Howard Zinn Lifetime Achievement in Peace Studies Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA).

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