Gender Hierarchies

Conflict, Gender, Ethnicity and Post-Conflict Reconstruction


Handrahan, Lori. 2004. “Conflict, Gender, Ethnicity and Post-Conflict Reconstruction.” Security Dialogue 35 (4): 429–45. 

Author: Lori Handrahan


This article introduces the concept of ethnicity in relation to gendered security problems in conflict and post-conflict settings. Feminist research has established that men and women experience conflict and post-conflict situations differently owing to issues of identity and power. National and gendered identities and women's disadvantageous location within global and local power structures combine to put women at risk, while simultaneously providing little room for them to voice their security problems. Theories on women as female boundary-makers show how ethnicity appears in part to be created, maintained and socialized through male control of gender identities, and how women's fundamental human rights and dignity are often caught up in male power struggles. In post-conflict settings, gender construction appears to be further complicated by both national agendas of identity formation and re-formation, which often include an ethnic focus, and the presence of a competing 'fraternity' as a consequence of the arrival of the international community.

Keywords: Gender, security, ethnicity, conflict, fraternity

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Men, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Justice, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Security

Year: 2004

Gender Integration in Israeli Officer Training: Degendering and Regendering the Military


Sasson-Levy, Orna, and Sarit Amram-Katz. 2007. “Gender Integration in Israeli Officer Training: Degendering and Regendering the Military.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 33 (1): 105–33.

Authors: Orna Sasson‐Levy, Sarit Amram‐Katz


This article examines the nature and meaning of gender integration in an officer training course in the Israeli military, in light of the hegemonic status of combat masculinity. The above quote is taken from an interview with Lieutenant Colonel Yoav Golan, a male battalion commander in the newly gender‐integrated course. The quote starts by recognizing gender differences as legitimate: women’s crying no longer frightens him. However, in the same breath, Yoav recreates the gendered hierarchy: the women’s crying bothers the male cadets, and “legitimate” tears quickly turn into hysterics. This discursive multiplicity is indicative of the simultaneous degendering and regendering processes that take place in the course. Though the Israeli military has restructured officer training in order to degender its route for promotion, it nonetheless goes on to reconstruct and reify hierarchical gender differences. Since military service is a sine qua non of full citizenship in Israel, the simultaneous processes of degendering and regendering expose the countless barricades that Israeli women have to overcome in order to be considered full citizens.

Topics: Citizenship, Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Militarization, Rights Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2007

Individual Bodies, Collective State Interests: The Case of Israeli Combat Soldiers


Sasson-Levy, Orna. 2007. “Individual Bodies, Collective State Interests: The Case of Israeli Combat Soldiers.” Men and Masculinities 10 (3): 296–321.

Author: Orna Sasson-Levy


The primary question this article raises is how democratic societies, whose liberal values seem to contradict the coercive values of the military, persuade men to enlist and participate in fighting. The author argues that part of the answer lies in alternative interpretation of transformative bodily and emotional practices. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Israeli combat soldiers, the author claims that the warrior's bodily and emotional practices are constituted through two opposing discursive regimes: self-control and thrill. The nexus of these two themes promotes an individualized interpretation frame of militarized practices, which blurs the boundaries between choice and coercion, presents mandatory military service as a fulfilling self-actualization, and enables soldiers to ignore the political and moral meanings of their actions. Thus, the individualized body and emotion management of the combat soldier serves the symbolic and pragmatic interests of the state, as it reinforces the cooperation between hegemonic masculinity and Israeli militarism.

Keywords: hegemonic masculinity, body and emotion management, military, combat soldiers, individualism, collectivism, Israeli society

Topics: Citizenship, Combatants, Male Combatants, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel

Year: 2007

'Ducktails, Flick-knives and Pugnacity': Subcultural and Hegemonic Masculinities in South Africa, 1948-1960


Mooney, Katie. 1998. “‘Ducktails, Flick-knives and Pugnacity’: Subcultural and Hegemonic Masculinities in South Africa, 1948-1960.” Journal of Southern African Studies 24: 753–74.

Author: Katie Mooney


The Ducktails were a white youth gang subculture that emerged within post Second World War South Africa. They were rebellious, hedonistic, apolitical and displayed little respect for the law, education or work. Collectively their identity was shaped by specific racial, class and gender elements. Within gender studies, femininity has been at the forefront whereas investigations into masculinities have rarely featured. This article contributes towards a better understanding of masculinity and particularly white masculine identities within an historical context. Particular attention is given to the way male members of the subculture constructed, sustained and practiced their masculinity. Specifically, this article argues that Ducktail masculinity was not static or homogeneous but was rather multifarious, embracing characteristics such as image, territoriality, loyalty, pugnacity, competitiveness, virility and homophobia. This sets the context for an exploration of the relationship of conformity, conflict and control that emerged between Ducktail masculinity and other more accepted and dominant masculinities.

Topics: Age, Youth, Class, Gender, Men, Boys, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Race, Sexuality, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 1998

Gender, Local Justice, and Ownership: Confronting Masculinities and Femininities in Northern Uganda


Anderson, Jessica L. 2009. “Gender, Local Justice, and Ownership: Confronting Masculinities and Femininities in Northern Uganda.” Peace Research 41 (2): 59–83.

Author: Jessica L. Anderson


This article describes the livelihood structures of internally displaced men and women during Uganda's civil war, how these livelihood structures affect femininities and masculinities, and how they inform mens and women's opinions on transitional justice. It argues that insecurity and deprivation in northern Uganda's displacement camps during the country's twenty-four years of conflict have had a significant impact on the construction of masculinities and femininities in the region. Both men and women crave agency in their daily lives following this prolonged period of displacement and disempowerment. This sense of ownership refers to different forms of communal and individual reparation and the local practice of mato oput, a restorative justice process that has been criticized as gender insensitive. Acholi men's and women's support for the practice of mato oput points to the need to adopt a more thoughtful perspective on gender justice that balances international values with the ideas and desires of war survivors. Acholi men and women request control and ownership over justice mechanisms as an integral part of their conception of justice. Through examining such requests, this article analyses the ways in which Acholi men and women desire ownership and how a transitional justice process can extend and bolster this ownership.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Domestic Violence, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Health, Trauma, Households, Justice, Transitional Justice, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Security, Human Security Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2009

The War Against the Female Soldier? The Effects of Masculine Culture on Workplace Aggression


Koeszegi, Sabine T., Eva Zedlacher, and Rene Hudribusch. 2013. “The War Against the Female Soldier? The Effects of Masculine Culture on Workplace Aggression.” Armed Forces & Society 40 (February): 226-250.

Authors: Sabine T. Koeszegi, Eva Zedlacher, Rene Hudribusch


This study intends to analyze the relationship between military culture, masculine norms, attitude toward women, and workplace aggression. By using a paper-pencil survey in the Austrian Armed Forces, we show that overall 6.5 percent of all soldiers in the sample suffer from severe, long-term collective aggression (bullying). The detailed analysis suggests that systematic workplace aggression is associated with a culture with high power orientation and adherence to traditional (masculine) military norms. It occurs most often within socialization processes in training centers as well as in combat units. Conversely, culture in support units has high levels of task orientation with a comparably positive attitude toward female soldiers and less reported workplace aggression. The data reveal the gender dimension of workplace aggression in the Austrian Armed Forces: women are significantly more vulnerable to bullying. Almost every second soldier declares to have observed and every tenth soldier admits to have conducted aggressive acts against women.

Keywords: hypermasculinity, culture, workplace aggression, integration, military

Topics: Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Austria

Year: 2013

Women Breaking the Silence: Military Service, Gender, and Antiwar Protest


Sasson-Levy, Orna, Yagil Levy, and Edna Lomsky-Feder. 2011. "Women Breaking the Silence: Military Service, Gender, and Antiwar Protest." Gender & Society 25 (6): 740-63.

Authors: Orna Sasson-Levy, Yagil Levy, Edna Lomsky-Feder


This paper analyzes how military service can be a source of women’s antiwar voices, using the Israeli case of “Women Breaking the Silence” (WBS). WBS is a collection of testimonies from Israeli women ex-soldiers who have served in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The WBS testimonies change the nature of women’s antiwar protest by offering a new, paradoxical source of symbolic legitimacy for women’s antiwar discourse from the gendered marginalized position of “outsiders within” the military. From this contradictory standpoint, the women soldiers offer a critical gendered voice, which focuses on criticism of the combat masculinity and gendered identification with the Palestinian “other.” While they reaffirm the republican ethos that grants political dominance to male soldiers, they also deconstruct the image of hegemonic masculinity as the emblem of the nation and undermine gendered militarized norms.

Keywords: military, state, nationalism, politics, collective behavior, social movements

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Israel, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2011

Women’s Land Rights in Post-Conflict Angola


Nielsen, Robin. 2008. Women’s Land Rights in Post-Conflict Angola. 125. Seattle: Rural Development Institute.

Author: Robin Nielsen


As it emerges from almost 30 years of civil war, Angola has worked hard to establish the rule of law in a highly pluralistic society. Although it has enacted legislation that articulates gender equity, customary laws and traditional practices prevail in the lives of most Angolans. These customs favor men over women, and, as a result, the majority of Angolan women remain trapped by illiteracy, limited economic opportunities, and the need to care for children and relatives. With 70 percent of Angola’s population living on less than $2 per day, and more than half the population reliant on agriculture for their livelihoods, secure land tenure is a critical issue.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Economies, Economic Inequality, Poverty, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equity, Land Tenure, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Angola

Year: 2008

All in the Family: Gender, Transnational Migration, and the Nation-State


Fouron, Georges and Nina Glick Schiller. 2001. “All in the Family: Gender, Transnational Migration, and the Nation-State.” Identities 7 (4): 539-82.

Authors: Georges Fouron, Nina Glick Schiller


Over the years, feminist scholarship has illuminated the ways in which genders are differentiated and gender hierarchies are constituted as part of the way women and men learn to identify with a nation‐state. Much less has been said about the social reproduction of gender in transnational spaces. These spaces are created as people emigrate, settle far from their homelands, and yet develop networks of connection that maintain familial, economic, religious, and political ties to those homelands. The task of this paper is to begin to explore the ways in which gender and nation are mutually constituted within the transnational social fields that link homeland and new land. This paper is exploratory, using a case study of Haitian transnational connections as a catalyst for future investigation.

Keywords: Gender, transnational migration, nationalism, Haiti, United States

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Nationalism, Political Participation, Religion Regions: Americas, Caribbean countries, North America Countries: Haiti, United States of America

Year: 2001

Drinking Vodka from the ‘Butt-Crack’: Men, Masculinities and Fratriarchy in the Private Militarized Security Company


Higate, Paul. 2012. “Drinking Vodka from the ‘Butt-Crack’: Men, Masculinities and Fratriarchy in the Private Militarized Security Company.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 14 (4): 450-69. doi:10.1080/14616742.2012.726092.

Author: Paul Higate


This article speaks to the emerging literature by critical scholars of race and gender focused on Private Militarized Security Companies (PMSCs) working in conflict and post-conflict settings. As one aspect of a wider project to illuminate concerns of security and the masculinized world of the private security contractor, I develop the concept of fratriarchy to bring into sharp relief the potential consequence of contractors' relative operational freedom within the context of close, yet sometimes competitive brotherly relations. Here, I go on to consider the means by which a small group of US Embassy guards in Kabul created dense intra-masculine bonds within a wider hierarchy of men through norm-bound, homoerotic practices. From the view of those involved, these practices may well have neutralized the threat of homosexuality through cementing heteronormative relations among the hegemonic members. In discussing three images depicting sexualized activities drawn from the 2009 Kabul Hazing, I argue that intimate forms of embodiment intersect with processes of racialization in politically important ways. In conclusion, it is tentatively argued that the Kabul Hazing and wider discussions of the industry conceived of through the lens of fratriarchy provide the emerging feminist security studies literature with a closely focused resource with which to augment claims located at higher levels of abstraction around the process of (re)masculinization argued to be underway in this exemplary sphere.

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Race, Security Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, United States of America

Year: 2012


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