Working Paper No. 481: Feminist Knowledge and Human Security: Bridging Rifts Through the Epistemology of Care
This essay proposes to re-orient feminist debates on epistemology towards the care-security nexus as a pathway that can plausibly provide an integral understanding of a human-centred and eco-minded security. Seeing ‘gender’ in binary terms tends to produce an understanding of ‘care’ as ‘female’ and ‘security’ as ‘male’. Care, when free from the constraints of gender as a binary construct, can play an important role in revealing the depth of ethical-political concerns and help expand the understanding of security. By revisiting the concept of care present in the two feminist innovations – situated knowledge and knowledge production as quilting – the essay shows that there are gains to be made in bridging existing rifts between feminist knowledge networks and beyond. The concept of situated knowledge gives significance to care as self- reflexivity – an ongoing process and a multifaceted nature of experience in the relation between the knower and the known. Knowledge production as quilting displaces the image of the solitary knowledge agent and provides a flexible approach to epistemology less constrained by teleological assumptions, appealing instead to interdisciplinary and inter-cultural cooperation. Both aspects of feminist epistemology are conducive to address the care-security nexus as an open and dynamic phenomenon, for which a successful inclusion of distinctive insights from different disciplines and cultural frameworks of knowledge would be a gain.