Subjectivity and Imperial Masculinity: A British Soldier in Dhofar (1968-1970)


Kaiksow, Sarah A. 2008. “Subjectivity and Imperial Masculinity: A British Soldier in Dhofar (1968-1970).” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 4 (2): 60-80. 

Author: Sarah Kaiksow


This paper explores imperial masculinity from the perspective of a British soldier who fought against the Dhofar revolution from 1968 to 1970 while serving in the British-led Army of the Sultan of Oman. Previous writings on masculinity in the context of empire have largely focused on cultural narratives, representational ideals, and intellectual debates. This paper shifts the emphasis to the subjectivity of imperial masculinity in order to identify how a notion of “superior” manhood is sustained and negotiated amidst the demands of everyday life. Interrogating a military memoir, this paper finds that the soldier justified British imperialism in Dhofar through his implicit assumptions of “knowing more” and “knowing better” than the Dhofaris/Arabs, even concerning their own nature, desires, and interests. Using these assumptions, the soldier was able to imagine himself as an “imperial adventure hero,” allowing gendered relations of power to recoup in the face of challenges to imperial masculinity.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Race Regions: Africa, MENA Countries: Oman

Year: 2008

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