Male Combatants

The Quest for Masculinity in a Defeated France, 1940-1945


Capdevila, Luc. 2001. "The Quest for Masculinity in a Defeated France, 1940-1945." Contemporary European History 10 (3, Theme Issue: Gender and War in Europe c. 1918-1949): 423-45.

Author: Luc Capdevila


This article provides a detailed analysis of the individuals who enrolled in Vichy fighting units at the end of the German occupation. Those groups were mostly created in late 1943 and early 1944, and acted as effective subsidiaries to German troops, treating civilians and partisans with extreme violence. The enrolment of those men was a consequence of their political beliefs, notably strong anti-communism. But the fact that their behaviour seems born of desperation (some were recruited after D-Day) is a hint that it was shaped according to other cultural patterns, especially an image of masculinity rooted in the memory of the First World War and developed, among others, according to fascist and Nazi ideologies: a manhood based on strength, the violence of warfare and the image of the soldier. This article provides an analysis based on judiciary documents from the time of the purge, with a careful reconstruction of personal trajectories and self discourse in order to understand the masculine identity these sometimes very young men tried to realise through political engagement in the guise of warriors. (Cambridge Journals)




Topics: Armed Conflict, Occupation, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Violence Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: France

Year: 2001

Morality and Sexual Rights: Constructions of Masculinity, Femininity and Sexuality Among a Group of South African Soldiers


Mankayi, Nyameka. 2008. “Morality and Sexual Rights: Constructions of Masculinity, Femininity and Sexuality Among a Group of South African Soldiers.” Culture, Health & Sexuality 10 (6): 625-34. doi:10.1080/13691050801950884.

Author: Nyameka Mankayi


This paper describes how South African soldiers draw on notions of gender, sexuality and morality in their constructions of identity and heterosexual sexuality. Popular discourses around HIV and AIDS in South Africa and elsewhere have highlighted the centrality of notions of morality, many of them problematic, in the response to the epidemic. In Southern Africa, the centrality of heterosexuality to HIV transmission has triggered a focus on morality in sexuality, including calls for abstinence or, in married relationships, monogamy. This paper discusses the findings of a research study that explored male soldiers' constructions of masculinity, sexuality and risky sexual practices. Discourses that emerged reflected dominant attitudes regarding men and women's sexual rights and, in particular, the moralisation of women's sexuality.

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Health, HIV/AIDS, Sexuality Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2008

Toward an Empirical Model of Male Homosocial Relatedness: An Investigation of Friendship in Uniform and Beyond


Kaplan, Danny, and Amir Rosenmann. 2014. “Toward an Empirical Model of Male Homosocial Relatedness: An Investigation of Friendship in Uniform and Beyond.” Psychology of Men & Masculinity 15 (1): 12-21. doi:10.1037/a0031289.

Authors: Danny Kaplan, Amir Rosenmann


Following a critique of prevalent views of men’s friendships as lacking in emotional expressiveness, this study introduced an empirical model for male bonding derived from the homosocial perspective in men studies. A concept of male homosocial relatedness (MHR) was proposed that integrates the features associated with dyadic friendship with those of group comradeship. This model takes into account that expression of positive and negative emotions associated with male bonding may vary in social legitimacy across relational settings. An inventory of positive and negative emotions associated with MHR was developed and administered to two groups of male combat and noncombat Israeli soldiers (N = 369). Participants completed self-reports of emotional relatedness toward each of three targets: male unit peers, nonmilitary male best friend, and girlfriend. Findings suggest that the structure of emotional relatedness differed between the homosocial settings (male unit peers and best friend) and the heterosexual setting (girlfriend). This supports the importance of social legitimacy in the homosocial setting. As hypothesized, combat soldiers reported greater emotional relatedness both to unit peers and to (nonmilitary) best friend compared with noncombat soldiers. No comparable difference was found between combat and noncombat soldiers in ratings of emotional relatedness toward girlfriends. We suggest that the impact of homosocial socialization, such as found in combat units, extends beyond the homosocial enclave and legitimizes emotional expressiveness in male dyadic bonds as well.

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East

Year: 2014

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

Forces for Good? Military Masculinities and Peacebuilding in Afghanistan and Iraq


Duncanson, Claire. 2013. Forces for Good? Military Masculinities and Peacebuilding in Afghanistan and Iraq. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Claire Duncanson


"Forces for Good?” explores British soldier 'herographies' to identify constructions of gender, race, class and nation and their consequences on complex, multi-dimensional operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This book aims to intervene in the debates within critical feminist scholarship over whether soldiers can ever be agents of peace. Many feminist analyses of military intervention point to the way in which interventions are legitimated by gendered narratives where representatives of civilization are tasked with addressing violent conflict in troubled lands, a story which distracts from the root causes of the violence and enables the furthering of a neoliberal agenda. This book advances this critique by adding the important but hitherto neglected case of the British Army, and challenges its determinism, which Duncanson argues to be normatively, empirically and theoretically problematic. Exploring the impact of identity and gender constructions on the prospects for successful peacebuilding, this book will appeal to a range of scholars in politics, international relations, peace studies, gender and women's studies, sociology and anthropology. (WorldCat)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Class, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Peacebuilding, Race Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Europe, Northern Europe Countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, United Kingdom

Year: 2013

Zulu Masculinities, Warrior Culture and Stick Fighting: Reassessing Male Violence and Virtue in South Africa


Carton, Benedict, and Robert Morrell. 2012. “Zulu Masculinities, Warrior Culture and Stick Fighting: Reassessing Male Violence and Virtue in South Africa.” Journal of Southern African Studies 38 (1): 31-53.

Authors: Benedict Carton, Robert Morrell


Zulu soldiers are renowned for decimating a British army at the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879. This military victory not only entrenched a legacy of merciless conquest long attributed to King Shaka, but also sensationalised the idea that Zulu men are natural-born killers. We reassess this stereotype by scrutinising the 'Shakan' version of martial culture and its reputed links to the formative encounters of Zulu men. One such experience involved boyhood exploits in stick fighting, a mostly rural sport associated with fearsome warriors and masculine aggression in South Africa. Using a gendered framework, we identify the customary obligations and homosocial allegiances shaping hierarchies of patriarchy which regulated stick fighting in a regional hotbed of competition, the Thukela Valley of KwaZulu-Natal. Focusing on a century of dramatic transformations (early 1800s to early 1900s), we examine overlooked vernacular expressions of stick fighting that reinforced the importance of self-mastery and 'honour', metaphors of manhood that bolstered kinship obligations during social turmoil. We also highlight the sport's sometimes unforgiving outcomes, including ruthless retribution and painful ostracism, which combined with encroaching forces of white domination to change rules of engagement and propel young men from their traditional upbringing into labour migrancy. However, the ethos of stick fighting — namely learning restraint — remained vital to the socialisation of boys.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Boys, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2012

Bring Me Men: Military Masculinity and the Benign Facade of American Empire, 1898-2001


Belkin, Aaron. 2012. Bring Me Men: Military Masculinity and the Benign Facade of American Empire, 1898-2001. New York: Columbia University Press.

Author: Aaron Belkin


The masculinity of those who serve in the American military would seem to be indisputable, yet it is full of contradictions. To become a warrior, one must renounce those things in life that are perceived to be unmasculine. Yet at the same time, the military has encouraged and even mandated warriors to do exactly the opposite. Explores these contradictions in great detail and shows that their invisibility has been central to the concealment of American empire's darkest secrets. By examining case studies that expose these contradictions, the phenomenon of male-on-male rape at the U.S. Naval Academy, for example, as well as historical and contemporary attitudes toward cleanliness and filth, Belkin utterly upends our understanding of the relationship between warrior masculinity, American empire and the fragile processes sustaining it. (WorldCat)

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Rape, SV against Men Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2012

Unmaking War, Remaking Men: How Empathy Can Reshape Our Politics, Our Soldiers, and Ourselves


Barry, Kathleen. 2011. Unmaking War, Remaking Men: How Empathy Can Reshape Our Politics, Our Soldiers, and Ourselves. Santa Rosa, CA: Phoenix Rising Press of Santa Rosa.

Author: Kathleen Barry


In Unmaking War, Remaking Men, Kathleen Barry probes what happens to the value we hold for human life in making war. She explores combat soldiers' experiences through a politics of empathy. By revealing how men's lives are made expendable for combat, she shows how military training drives them to kill without thinking and without remorse, induces violence against women, and leaves soldiers to suffer both trauma and loss of their own souls. She turns to her politics of empathy to shed new light on the experiences of those who are invaded and occupied and shows how resistance rises among them. And what of the state leaders and the generals who make war? In 2001, a fateful year for the world, George W. Bush became President of the US; Ariel Sharon became Prime Minister of Israel; and Osama bin Laden became the de facto world terrorist leader. Analyzing their leadership and failure of empathy, Unmaking War, Remaking Men reveals a common psychopathology of those driven to ongoing war, first making enemies, then labeling them as terrorists or infidels. This book -with its exposé of how blinding macho at home finds its way into war- challenges the U.S. preeminence in the world with a program for demilitarization of all states, and remaking the masculinity that drives men to combat. In uncovering how resistance forces come about under occupation with its high civilian death toll, house raids and humiliations, Barry shows that aggressor states are in the business of making enemies to perpetuate ongoing war. Considering Israel as an arm of US military power, Unmaking War, Remaking Men examines how both states have misused the term 'terrorist' by refusing to acknowledge that both Hizbullah and Hamas are resistance movements of self-determination. Kathleen Barry asks: 'What would it take to unmake war?' She scrutinizes the demilitarized state of Costa Rica and compares its claims of peace with its high rate of violence against women. She then turns to the urgent problem of how might men remake themselves by unmaking masculinity. She offers models for a new masculinity drawing on the experiences of men who have resisted war and have in turn transformed their lives into a new kind of humanity; into a place where the value of being human counts. (Amazon)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Violence

Year: 2011

Hope for Gender Equality? A Pattern of Post-Conflict Transition in Masculinity


Haque, Md. Mozammel. 2013. “Hope for Gender Equality? A Pattern of Post-Conflict Transition in Masculinity.” Gender, Technology and Development 17 (1): 55–77.

Author: Md. Mozammel Haque


Challenging the findings of existing studies on masculinity in conflict situations and post-conflict transition in masculinity, some former soldiers in the Cambodian civil war during the 1970s have constructed peaceful and responsive masculinities in a new gender order in post-war Cambodia. This is mainly because of the new dominant social discourse on maleness pervading the country, which expects men to be model husbands and fathers able to uplift their families by raising their economic and educational status. Family members, particularly wives, play an important role in actualizing the social discourse among these former soldiers. This study provides hope for gender equality through engagement with men and boys. They can be motivated to promote gender equality and end violence against women through the development of popular discourses on responsive masculinity and good fatherhood.

Keywords: masculinity, Cambodia, gender order, post-conflict transition in masculinity, Khmer Rouge, women, men

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Male Combatants, Men, Boys, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2013

“We’ll Kill You If You Cry”: Sexual Violence in the Sierra Leone Conflict


Taylor, Louise. 2003. “We’ll Kill You If You Cry”: Sexual Violence in the Sierra Leone Conflict. New York: Human Rights Watch.

Author: Louise Taylor


The 75-page report, “'We’ll Kill You If You Cry:' Sexual Violence in the  Sierra Leone Conflict,” presents evidence of horrific abuses against women and girls in every region of the country by the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF), as well as other rebel, government and international peacekeeping forces. The Human Rights Watch report, which is based on hundreds of interviews with victims, witnesses and officials, details crimes of sexual violence committed primarily by soldiers of various rebel forces—the RUF, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), and the West Side Boys. The report also examines sexual violence by government forces and militias, as well as international peacekeepers.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Women, Girls, International Organizations, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Militaries, Militias, Non-State Armed Groups, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against Women Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2003


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