Mobilizing Mothers for War: Cross-National Framing Strategies in Nicaragua’s Contra War

Citation:

De Volo, Lorraine Bayard. 2004. “Mobilizing Mothers for War: Cross-National Framing Strategies in Nicaragua’s Contra War.” Gender & Society 18 (6): 715-34.

Author: Lorraine Bayard De Volo

Abstract:

Studies document that in wartime, states often employ maternal imagery and mobilize women as mothers. Yet we know relatively little about when and why states and their Opposition do so. This study seeks to build theory for this phenomenon through frame analysis of the Nicaraguan Contra War. The author proposes that maternal framing aimed at mothers as well as a broader national and international audience, benefits militaries in at least three ways: (1) channeling maternal grievances, (2) disseminating propaganda through "apolitical" mothers, and (3) evoking emotions and sympathy nationally and internationally. This study furthermore explores three underexamined features of both gendered studies of war and frame analysis: (1) It applies frame theory to states, (2) it develops our understanding of cross-national gendered framing strategies, and (3) it introduces gender framing to the study of war.

Keywords: mothers, women, war, framing, Nicaragua

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Women Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Nicaragua

Year: 2004

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.