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The Pitfalls of Protection

Gender, Violence, and Power in Afghanistan

Torunn Wimpelmann (Author)

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At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, the UC Press open access publishing program.
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Paperback, 204 pages
ISBN: 9780520293199
May 2017
$29.95, £24.95
Other Formats Available:
At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, University of California Press’s open access publishing program. Visit to learn more.

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. The author finds that aid flows and geopolitics have served as both opportunities 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, the book examines both the achievements and the limits of this strategy. 
Torunn Wimpelmann is a researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute.
The Pitfalls of Protection is an important contribution to the field of gendered change in Afghanistan. Torunn Wimpelmann provides detailed description and analysis of the processes of gendered law-making in a space contested by local, national, and indeed global actors and explains and analyzes deeply unjust and violent infractions on women’s bodies and lives while keeping a respectful distance and avoiding dramatization. This is such an important accomplishment. Wimpelmann has written an excellent book."—Jelke Boesten, author of Sexual Violence in War and Peace: Gender, Power and Postconflict Justice in Peru and Intersecting Inequalities: Women and Social Policy in Peru.

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