The (Little) Militia Man: Memory and Militarized Masculinity in Lebanon

Citation:

Haugbolle, Sune. 2012. “The (Little) Militia Man: Memory and Militarized Masculinity in Lebanon.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 8 (1): 115–39.

Author: Sune Haugbolle

Abstract:

This article discusses how militiamen who fought in the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) have been represented in Lebanese cultural production and how these militiamen relate to public discourse on masculinity and culpability in the postwar period. Through an analysis of interviews with former militiamen from the Lebanese press, an autobiographical novel, and a play about the war, this paper examines the link between debates about memory and responsibility on one hand, and contentions over norms of masculine behavior on the other. The texts suggest that some Lebanese artists privilege a redemptive narrative, where former fighters are shown as regretful, even feminized, “little men” on par with other human victims of a senseless war. This narrative is meant to counter the widely held notion in Lebanon that militiamen bear a large part of the responsibility for the war. At the same time, this redemptive narrative seeks to sever the link between masculinity and sectarian cultures that, still today, celebrate violence committed during the civil war.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militias, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Lebanon

Year: 2012

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