The Pitfalls of Protection

The Pitfalls of Protection

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Since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, violence against women has emerged as the single most important issue for Afghan gender politics. The Pitfalls of Protection, based on research conducted in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2015, locates the struggles over gender violence in local and global power configurations. Torunn Wimpelmann finds that aid flows and geopolitics have served as both opportunities for and obstacles to feminist politics in Afghanistan. Showing why Afghan activists often chose to use the leverage of Western powers instead of entering into either protracted negotiations with powerful national actors or broad political mobilization, this book examines both the achievements and the limits of this strategy.

“An important contribution to the field of gendered change in Afghanistan. Torunn Wimpelmann provides detailed analysis of the processes of gendered law-making in a space contested by local, national, and global actors and explains the deeply unjust and violent infractions on women’s bodies and lives. Wimpelmann has written an excellent book.” JELKE BOESTEN, author of Sexual Violence in War and Peace: Gender, Power and Postconflict Justice in Peru

“This lucid, meticulously researched, and immensely readable book deftly guides the reader through the political terrain upon which women’s rights are being contested. Essential reading for those with an interest in Afghanistan, gender, gender-based violence, and post-conflict governance.” DENIZ KANDIYOTI, Professor Emeritus of Development Studies, University of London

TORUNN WIMPELMANN is a researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute.

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  • Afghan women
  • Afghan women’s movement
  • Afghanistan
  • Development aid
  • Feminism & feminist theory
  • Feminist politics
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Kabul
  • Legal reform
  • Mujahedin
  • Prosecutor
  • Rape
  • Regional & national history
  • s movement
  • Social issues & processes
  • Society & culture: general
  • Society & Social Sciences
  • Taliban
  • Violence against women
  • war on terror


DOI: 10.1525/luminos.32


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