Why Gendered Quantification Trends Are a Problem: Post-traumatic Growth Arguments and the Civil War Malestream

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Abstract

Feminist scholars have long debated quantification trends in the Social Sciences. Of particular concern has been the extent to which the prestige assigned to quantitative methods may reinforce ‘malestream’ dynamics in academic knowledge production. ‘Malestream’ dynamics include the (implicit or explicit) privileging of a male-centric lens in the research process; and the association of ‘hard’ numerical data with notions of ‘scientifically superior’ masculinity. We build on these discussions by asking how the rise in quantitative writings may affect gender disparities in the civil war literature. Using descriptive data from a newly coded dataset that contains 1,851 articles published in high-ranking journals between 1998 and 2018, we, firstly, illustrate how – in the generally male-dominated field of civil war research – the author gender gap is particularly pronounced among quantitative writings. Secondly, we present an in-depth discussion of three articles that use statistical analysis to test the effects of violence on prospects of post-traumatic growth. A distinct difference between the three articles is that they tend to be more sceptical of arguments on ‘positive change’ following violence, the more account they take of gender differentiation in their theoretical framing and/or empirical identification strategy. All in all, our arguments call for greater awareness of gender bias in quantitative research, and for more rigour in currently hegemonic standards of what ‘counts’ as reliable evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Journal Conflict Management and Peace Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Mar 2024

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