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Male Combatants

Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising

Citation:

Szanto, Edith. 2016. “Depicting Victims, Heroines, and Pawns in the Syrian Uprising.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 12 (3): 306–22.

Author: Edith Szanto

Abstract:

During the onslaught of the Islamic caliphate on Kobanî, Syria, media outlets across the globe broadcast pictures of brave and often unveiled Kurdish women fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a quintessentially male force of destruction. The images of women fighting Islamist male aggressors aroused outrage, admiration, and pity among observers. But had all Kurdish fighters been male or had women fought for ISIS, viewers might have reacted differently. To examine some of the most widely disseminated gendered pictures and videos of the Syrian uprising in the media, this article draws on Mohja Kahf’s three categories, which typify how Muslim women, Arab women, or both are perceived by the Anglophone reading and viewing public: the first is victims; the second, escapees; and the third, pawns of patriarchy and male power. While this typology helps in examining gendered images of the Syrian uprising, it also obscures the socioeconomic realities on the ground.

Keywords: female fighters, media, Syrian uprising

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Syria

Year: 2016

Gender Dimensions of DDR – Beyond Victimization and Dehumanization: Tracking the Thematic

Citation:

Hauge, Wenche Iren. 2020. “Gender Dimensions of DDR – Beyond Victimization and Dehumanization: Tracking the Thematic." International Feminist Journal of Politics 22 (2): 206-26.

Author: Wenche Iren Hauge

Abstract:

In much of the early literature on gender dimensions of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) processes – from the 1980s and 1990s – the focus was on women as victims in conflict and DDR processes. This article reviews the literature on gender dimensions of DDR processes, exploring its many different topics – such as discussions of the definition of combatants, the political economy of DDR processes, group identity, cultural contexts, and masculinity – while focusing the discussion on the representation of female and male combatants of armed groups along the victim–actor axis. It furthermore analyzes the consequences of these representations for the way in which DDR processes are structured, and for who is allowed to participate in them. Finally, the article questions the push toward normalization in DDR processes and the neglect of progressive changes in gender relations within armed groups during war.

Keywords: demobilization, reintegration, gender, actors, victims, normalization

Topics: Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, DDR, Conflict, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Political Economies

Year: 2020

'What Is Wrong with Men?’: Revisiting Violence against Women in Conflict and Peacebuilding

Citation:

Pankhurst, Donna. 2016. “‘What Is Wrong with Men?’: Revisiting Violence against Women in Conflict and Peacebuilding.” Peacebuilding 4 (2): 180–93.

Author: Donna Pankhurst

Abstract:

Much has been written about the high rates of rape and other forms of violence against ‘enemy’ women in wartime and sustained violence against women in post-war contexts. Research on violence against women, recognised as a problem for peace and development and even a threat to international security, has begun to identify and explain contrasts between different locations. The explanations focus on men, their behaviour and ‘masculinities’, some of which, and even some military codes, may even proscribe such violence. By contrast, research on the mental health of male former combatants, and possibly other male survivors of war trauma, suggests that there is a strong risk of them perpetrating violence specifically against women, even in cases where the highest standard of veteran care is expected, but without much explanation. This article considers what potential there is in this topic for lessons in peacebuilding policy and identifies areas for future research.

Keywords: sexual violence, gender, war, peacebuilding, masculinity, men, ex-combatants, veterans, soldiers

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Health, Mental Health, Peacebuilding, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women

Year: 2016

Feminists Building Peace and Reconciliation: Beyond Post-Conflict

Citation:

Porter, Elisabeth. 2016. “Feminists Building Peace and Reconciliation: Beyond Post-Conflict.” Peacebuilding 4 (2): 210–25.

Author: Elisabeth Porter

Abstract:

Many feminists find the concept of ‘post-conflict’ troubling for two main reasons. First, the discursive space of post-conflict is contestable with fuzzy lines around when the conflict period becomes post-conflict. Second, for women, the period following the cessation of armed aggression continues to be one of insecurity, where intimate partner violence often remains high, particularly when male ex-combatants return from fighting. In the so-called post-conflict period, a culture of gendered violence, gendered insecurity and militarisation remains. I argue that the transition from conflict provides opportunities for transformation from a culture of violence to one of peace, from insecurity to security and from antagonism to reconciliation. This article outlines a four-fold conceptualisation of reconciliation as a spectrum, reconciling relationships, processes and cultures of reconciliation. To move beyond gender-blind notions of post-conflict, the article seeks to decipher what is uniquely feminist about these ideas in affirming feminist peacebuilding and reconciliation.

Keywords: feminist peacebuilding, gendered violence, insecurity, post-conflict, reconciliation

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Domestic Violence, Feminisms, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Security, Violence

Year: 2016

Ex-Combatants, Gender, and Peace in Northern Ireland: Women, Political Protest and the Prison Experience

Citation:

Wahidin, Azrini. 2016. Ex-Combatants, Gender and Peace in Northern Ireland: Women, Political Protest and the Prison Experience. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Azrini Wahidin

Annotation:

Summary:
This book explores the contours of women's involvement in the Irish Republican Army, political protest and the prison experience in Northern Ireland. Through the voices of female and male combatants, it demonstrates that women remained marginal in the examination of imprisonment during the Conflict and in the negotiated peace process. However, the book shows that women performed a number of roles in war and peace that placed constructions of femininity in dissent. Azrini Wahidin argues that the role of the female combatant is not given but ambiguous. She indicates that a tension exists between different conceptualisations of societal security, where female combatants both fought against societal insecurity posed by the state and contributed to internal societal dissonance within their ethno-national groups. This book tackles the lacunae that has created a disturbing silence and an absence of a comprehensive understanding of women combatants, which includes knowledge of their motivations, roles and experiences. It will be of particular interest to scholars of criminology, politics and peace studies.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Conflict, Gender, Femininity/ies, Peace and Security, Peace Processes, Security Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2016

The Role of Female Combatants in the Nicaraguan Revolution and Counter Revolutionary War

Citation:

García, Martín Meráz, Martha L. Cottam, and Bruno M. Baltodano. 2019. The Role of Female Combatants in the Nicaraguan Revolution and Counter Revolutionary War. New York: Routledge. 

Authors: Martín Meráz García, Martha L. Cottam, Bruno M. Baltodano

Annotation:

Summary:
The revolution in Nicaragua was unique in that a large percentage of the combatants were women. The Role of Female Combatants in the Nicaraguan Revolution and Counter Revolutionary War is a study of these women and those who fought in the Contra counter revolution on the Atlantic Coast.
 
This book is a qualitative study based on 85 interviews with female ex-combatants in the revolution and counter revolution from the 1960s to the end of the 1980s, as well as field observations in Nicaragua and the autonomous regions of the Atlantic Coast. It explores the reasons why women fought, the sacrifices they made, their treatment by male combatants, and their insights into the impact of the revolution and counter-revolution on today’s Nicaragua. The analytical approach draws from political psychology, social identity dynamics such as nationalism and indigenous identities, and the role of liberation theology in the willingness of the female revolutionaries to risk their lives.
 
Researchers and students of Gender Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, and Political History will find this an illuminating account of the Nicaraguan Revolution and counter revolution, which until now has been rarely shared. (Summary from Routledge)
 
Table of Contents:
1. Women as Combatants in Revolution
 
2. Historical Overview of the Nicaraguan Revolution and FSLN Women
 
3. Women in the FSLN
 
4. The Contra War
 
5. Women in the Contra Revolutionary War
 
6. Conclusion

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Nationalism, Religion Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Nicaragua

Year: 2019

War's Perpetuity: Disabled Bodies of War and the Exoskeleton of Equality

Citation:

Heathcote, Gina. 2018. "War's Perpetuity: Disabled Bodies of War and the Exoskeleton of Equality." Australian Feminist Law Journal 44, (1): 71-91.

Author: Gina Heathcote

Abstract:

Assistive technologies, such as exoskeletons, work to render female bodies ‘closer’ to male capabilities in armed conflict situations. At the same time, the maiming of male bodies in conflict can be charted as a persistent outcome of armed conflict that has received scant attention within the study of the gendered effects of armed conflict. War’s production of the disabled male body has also led to significant developments with respect to assistive technologies, via the work of, in particular, the US military. I argue that the investment of the US military in the development of exoskeletons, when understood alongside the US military’s investment in assistive mobility technologies for returned soldiers, raises questions about the futility of creating technology only to perpetuate the existence of the battlefield. Far from a project built on gender equality goals, investment in exoskeleton technology seemingly underlines the manner in which the male body of war will increasingly be able to return to the battlefield, to be maimed and to be restored in perpetuity. I conclude by arguing exoskeletons should be used to reimagine subjectivity, via debility, with a mindfulness of the material effects and underlying philosophical traces within subjectivity. I argue for a shift in approaching subjectivity via an intersectional and post-human model, rather than a legal subject that perpetuates modernist man, promotes a thin understanding of gender equality, or deploys exoskeletons as a tool for the destructive impulses of armed conflict.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2018

Sexual Violence in Burundi: Victims, Perpetrators, and the Role of Conflict

Citation:

Dijkman, Nathalie E. J., Catrien Bijleveld, and Philip Verwimp. 2014. “Sexual Violence in Burundi: Victims, Perpetrators, and the Role of Conflict.” HiCN Working Paper 172, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton.

Authors: Nathalie Dijkman, Catrien Bijleveld, Philip Verwimp

Abstract:

In this paper we shed light on sexual violence in Burundi in the aftermath of its civil war. By presenting the results of a mixed-method research we discuss five topics: prevalence of sexual violence, a profile of victims, a profile of perpetrators, sexual violence’s relation to civil war and its current legal reactions and challenges. By means of multivariate regression analyses we predict women’s vulnerability to sexual- and gender based violence (GBV) in the context of war compared to everyday life. We find that age, schooling, living in an IDP camp and household wealth before the civil war have significantly different effects on GBV in both contexts. Many uniformed and armed men committed sexual violence during the war, and it appears that today ex-combatants and military continue to do so. From qualitative interviews we find several factors that connect Burundi’s past conflict to today’s violence, among which a weakened solidarity in communities and a problematic integration of excombatants in society. Impunity marks life in today’s Burundi, in particular in relation to persisting sexual violence. A thorough reconciliation or adjudication process since the civil war, as well as today’s difficulties to prosecute and pursue perpetrators, are among the main challenges for countering sexual violence in Burundi.

Topics: Age, Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Class, Combatants, Male Combatants, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Education, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, Impunity, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, SV against Women Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Burundi

Year: 2014

Masculinities in Transition? Exclusion, Ethnosocial Power, and Contradictions in Excombatant Community-Based Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland

Citation:

Holland, Curtis, and Gordana Rabrenovic. 2018. "Masculinities in Transition? Exclusion, Ethnosocial Power, and Contradictions in Excombatant Community-Based Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland." Men and Masculinities 21 (5): 729-55.

Authors: Curtis Holland, Gordana Rabrenovic

Abstract:

This study critically examines how masculinities and intersecting ethnonational and social class identities underscore the social and political agencies of excombatants in Northern Ireland and in the specific context of community-based peacebuilding. The authors draw on interviews with female and male leaders in grassroots and governmental organizations, which illustrate how state-led practices of exclusion reshape such intersectional identities and increase the instrumentality of hypermasculinist, pseudo-paramilitary practices in maintaining excombatants’ status and control on neighborhood levels. The research documents how structural dynamics of excombatants’ social class locations and political disaffection help shape their social agencies of “resistance,” underscored by desires for autonomy and recognition, and channeled by ethnogendered scripts rooted in both violent cultures of paramilitarism and nonviolent peacebuilding masculinities. The implications on women of male excombatants’ takeover of leadership roles in the community sector are also discussed.

Keywords: masculinities, peacebuilding, paramilitaries, class, Northern Ireland, exclusion, transitional justice

Topics: Armed Conflict, Class, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Justice, Transitional Justice, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Paramilitaries, Peacebuilding Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2018

Unmaking Militarized Masculinity: Veterans and the Project of Military-to-Civilian Transition

Citation:

Bulmer, Sarah, and Maya Eichler. 2017. “Unmaking Militarized Masculinity: Veterans and the Project of Military-to-Civilian Transition.” Critical Military Studies 3 (2): 161-81.

Authors: Sarah Bulmer, Maya Eichler

Abstract:

Feminist scholarship on war and militarization has typically focussed on the making of militarized masculinity. However, in this article, we shed light on the process of ‘unmaking’ militarized masculinity through the experiences of veterans transitioning from military to civilian life. We argue that in the twenty-first century, veterans’ successful reintegration into civilian society is integral to the legitimacy of armed force in Western polities and is therefore a central concern of policymakers, third-sector service providers, and the media. But militarized masculinity is not easily unmade. Veterans often struggle with their transition to civilian life and the negotiation of military and civilian gender norms. They may have an ambivalent relationship with the state and the military. Furthermore, militarized masculinity is embodied and experienced, and has a long and contradictory afterlife in veterans themselves. Attempts to unmake militarized masculinity in the figure of the veteran challenge some of the key concepts currently employed by feminist scholars of war and militarization. In practice, embodied veteran identities refuse a totalizing conception of what militarized masculinity might be, and demonstrate the limits of efforts to exceptionalize the military, as opposed to the civilian, aspects of veteran identity. In turn, the very liminality of this ‘unmaking’ troubles and undoes neat categorizations of military/civilian and their implied masculine/feminine gendering. We suggest that an excessive focus on the making of militarized masculinity has limited our capacity to engage with the dynamic, co-constitutive, and contradictory processes which shape veterans’ post-military lives.

Keywords: militarized masculinity, veterans, experience, gender, military-to-civilian transitions, militarization

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Peacebuilding

Year: 2017

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