Gender, Sex and the Postnational Defense: Militarism and Peacekeeping


Kronsell, Annica. 2012. Gender, Sex and the Postnational Defense: Militarism and Peacekeeping. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Author: Annica Kronsell


Gender, Sex, and the Postnational Defense looks at the way that a postnational defense influenced by SC 1325 and focused on human security affects gender relations in militaries. Interestingly, despite the successful implementation of gender mainstreaming in training, the number of women involved in military peacekeeping remains low. Contradicting much of the gender mainstreaming literature, Annica Kronsell shows that increasing gender awareness in the military is a more achievable task than increasing gender partiy. Employing a feminist constructivist institutional approach, Kronsell questions whether military institutions can ever attain gender neutrality without confronting their reliance on masculinity constructs. She further questions whether "feminism" must always be equated with anti-militarism or if military violence committed in the name of enhancing human security can be performed according to a feminist ethics. Kronsell builds her theoretical argument on a case study of Sweden and the E.U.

(Oxford University Press)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Peacekeeping, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2012

No Permission to Cross: Cypriot Women’s Dialogue across the Divide


Hadjipavlou, Maria. 2006. “No Permission to Cross: Cypriot Women’s Dialogue across the Divide.” Gender, Place & Culture 13 (4): 329–51. doi:10.1080/09663690600808429.

Author: Maria Hadjipavlou


Much scholarly attention has been given to the study of the gendered aspect of ethno-national conflicts trying to understand the experiences of men and women in a conflict situation and to what extent these shape different types of intervention for peacemaking and peace-building. Are women's experiences of conflict different from men's? Do women have a different voice than the mainstream dominant discourses produced by patriarchal systems? Do women in conflict societies respond to militarism and the violation of human rights differently from men? Are women's needs for identity and peace different depending on which ethnic–religious group they belong to? Are their needs different from those of men? This article will try to answer the above questions focusing on a feminist understanding of conflict in Cyprus. The main contention put forward in the article is that gender is an important factor to take into account when conflict societies are engaging in peace processes. To this end, data are analysed from different inter-ethnic women's workshops in which the author was either a participant–observer, or a facilitator. This analysis of the data demonstrates that Greek and Turkish Cypriot women's voices and experiences are diverse and multiple. Both men and women are socialised in the same nationalist paradigms, a fact that can explain how in the initial phases of the dialogue processes both groups of women tended to reproduce official discourses. Their own experiences and differentiated voices began to emerge only after a gendered understanding of the conflict was introduced and trust and conflict resolution skills were instituted in the dialogue process. Drawing attention to the gradual shift of perspectives in the context of inter-ethnic workshops, the article concludes by arguing that women's dialogue can challenge the omnipotence of the state and may open up a new space whereby a diversity of perspectives and mutual trust can emerge.

Flying Away to the Other Side

Our birthplace is split in two and we

Are caught on barbed wire-hybrids

Turk and Greek alike

‘Is it December is it July

Choose your Side

Are you Turkish or Greek

There's no Purgatory in between’.

… … … … … … … … … … …

We cannot be from both Sides

Because we are two, one and the other

You refused to believe in

We are loneliness itself (M. Yashin 2000)

Topics: Civil Society, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Nationalism, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes Regions: Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Cyprus

Year: 2006

Manoeuvring Men: Masculinity as Spatially Defined Readability at the Grandes Manoeuvres of the Belgian Army, 1882–1883


Hoegaerts, Josephine. 2010. “Manoeuvring Men: Masculinity as Spatially Defined Readability at the Grandes Manoeuvres of the Belgian Army, 1882–1883.” Gender, Place & Culture 17 (2): 249–68. doi:10.1080/09663691003600330.

Author: Josephine Hoegaerts


This article uses the case study of the Belgian grandes manoeuvres of 1882 and 1883 to explore the ways in which self-defined ‘all male’ spaces can contribute to the study and deconstruction of historical masculinities. Using the manoeuvres of the Belgian army at the end of the nineteenth century as a theatre of (military as well as civilian) corporeal and discursive practices, the simultaneous enactment of masculinity and nation is analysed. The material spaces in which these military exercises took place are understood as contingent creators instead of passive containers of masculinity: that is, rather than as a passive background to soldiers' movements, the champ de manoeuvres appears as an active stage, aiding the construction of a gendered military identity, but also challenging dichotomous understandings of gender. Likewise, the gaze upon both landscape and soldiers by different audiences plays an active part in the story of the construction of masculinity and nation: the act of recognition, performed by male and female civilians, during and after the manoeuvres was crucial for the continuous repetition of the discourse that created and upheld notions of ‘man’ and of ‘Belgium’.

Keywords: masculinity, gender performance, military history, nation, Belgium

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Nationalism Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 2010

Security and Gendered National Identity in Uzbekistan


Koch, Natalie. 2011. “Security and Gendered National Identity in Uzbekistan.” Gender, Place & Culture 18 (4): 499–518. 

Author: Natalie Koch


Contributing to the growing literature on feminist geopolitics, this article addresses the security discourses employed by the Karimov regime in Uzbekistan's post-independence nation-building process. It examines the ways in which militarism and the ‘culture of war’ are productive of gendered national identities in Uzbekistan, focusing on how the ‘protector–protected’ relationship figures prominently in the Karimov regime's anti-terrorist rhetoric. It does so through a textual analysis of the Andijon uprising and the ‘Day of Memory and Honor’ holiday. It argues that the terrorist threat has been a driving factor in the pervasive militarization of society, but that official responses to state violence in Andijon obscure alternative security concerns of the general population in Uzbekistan – and more specifically those of women. It adds to existing feminist geopolitics literature by expanding it into a new empirical context, while rejecting the assertion that a ‘geopolitical’ analysis necessarily entails a ‘global’ approach.

Keywords: feminist geopolitics, nation-building, militarism, Uzbekistan, Andijon

Topics: Gender, Women, Governance, Post-Conflict Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Nationalism, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, Human Security, Terrorism Regions: Asia, Central Asia Countries: Uzbekistan

Year: 2011

Enlisting Masculinity: The Construction of Gender in U.S. Military Recruiting Advertising During the All-Volunteer Force


Brown, Melissa T. 2012. Enlisting Masculinity: The Construction of Gender in U.S. Military Recruiting Advertising During the All-Volunteer Force. New York: Oxford University Press.

Author: Melissa T. Brown


Is today's All-Volunteer Force still "This Man's Army"? In a nation that has seen the rise of feminism, the decline of blue-collar employment, military defeat in Vietnam, and a general upheaval of traditional gender norms, what kind of man is today's military man? What kind does the military want him to be?In Enlisting Masculinity, Melissa Brown asks whether appeals to and constructions of masculinity remain the underlying basis of military recruiting-and if so, what that notion of masculinity actually is. Are the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines courting warriors or breadwinners; patriots or pragmatists; dominant masters of technology, or strong yet compassionate masters of themselves? Is each military branch recruiting the same model of masculinity?Based on an analysis of more than 300 print advertisements published between the early 1970s and 2007, as well as television commercials, recruiting websites, and media coverage of recruiting, Enlisting Masculinity argues that masculinity is still a foundation of the appeals made by the military, but that each branch deploys various constructions of masculinity that serve its particular personnel needs and culture, with conventional martial masculinity being only one among them. The inclusion of a few token women in recruiting advertisements has become routine, but the representations of service make it clear that men are the primary audience and combat their exclusive domain. Each branch constructs soldiering upon a slightly different foundation of masculine ideals and Brown delves into why, how, and what that looks like.The military is an important site for the creation and propagation of ideas of masculinity in American culture, and it is often not given the attention that it warrants as a nexus of gender and citizenship. Although most Americans believe they can ignore the military in the era of the all-volunteer force, when it comes to popular culture and ideas about gender, the military is not a thing apart from society. Building a fighting force, Brown shows, also means constructing a gender. Enlisting Masculinity gives us a unique and important perspective on both military service and prevailing conceptions of masculinity in America.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gender Analysis, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2012

Women and Militant Wars: The Politics of Injury


Parashar, Swati. 2014. Women and Militant Wars: The Politics of Injury. War, Politics and Experience. London & New York: Routledge.

Author: Swati Parashar


This book explores women’s militant activities in insurgent wars and seeks to understand what women ‘do’ in wars.
In International Relations, inter-state conflict, anti-state armed insurgency and armed militancy are essentially seen as wars where collective violence (against civilians and security forces) is used to achieve political objectives. Extending the notion of war as ‘politics of injury' to the armed militancy in Indian administered Kashmir and the Tamil armed insurgency in Sri Lanka, this book explores how women participate in militant wars, and how that politics not only shapes the gendered understandings of women’s identities and bodies but is in turn shaped by them.
The case studies discussed in the book offer new comparative insight into two different and most prevalent forms of insurgent wars today: religio-political and ethno-nationalist. Empirical analyses of women’s roles in the Sri Lankan Tamil militant group, the LTTE and the logistical, ideological support women provide to militant groups active in Indian administered Kashmir suggest that these insurgent wars have their own gender dynamics in recruitment and operational strategies. Thus, Women and Militant Wars provides an excellent insight into the gender politics of these insurgencies and women’s roles and experiences within them.
This book will be of much interest to students and scholars of critical war and security studies, feminist international relations, gender studies, terrorism and political violence, South Asia studies and IR in general.

Keywords: politics & international relations, asian politics, South Asian politics, military & strategic studies, security studies, terrorism, war & conflict studies, social sciences, gender studies

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Religion, Security, Terrorism Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2014

We Did Not Realize about the Gender Issues. So, We Thought It Was a Good Idea: Gender Roles in Burmese Oppositional Struggles


Hedström, Jenny. 2016. “We Did Not Realize about the Gender Issues. So, We Thought It Was a Good Idea: Gender Roles in Burmese Oppositional Struggles.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18 (1): 61–79. doi:10.1080/14616742.2015.1005516.

Author: Jenny Hedström


This article explores the link between nationalism, as expressed by the Burman state and ethnic and student opposition movements, and the emergence of a multiethnic women's movement engaged in resistance activities. In focusing on women's involvement in oppositional nation-making projects, this article aims to broaden our understanding of gender and conflict by highlighting women's agency in war. Drawing on interviews carried out with founding members of the women's movement, non-state armed groups and others active in civil society, the article investigates how a gendered political consciousness arose out of dissatisfaction with women's secondary position in armed opposition groups, leading to women forming a movement, not in opposition to conflict per se but in opposition to the rejection of their militarism, in the process redefining notions of political involvement and agency. By invoking solidarity based on a gendered positioning, rather than on an ethnic identity, the women's movement resisted the dominant nation-making projects, and created a nationalism inclusive of multiethnic differences. Burmese women's multiple wartime roles thus serve to upset supposed dichotomies between militancy and peace and victim and combatant, in the process redefining the relationship between gender, nationalism and militancy.

Keywords: nationalism, Myanmar, gender, ethnicity, conflict

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Civil Society, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Non-State Armed Groups, Nationalism, Political Participation Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar

Year: 2016

Drone Disorientations: How "Unmanned" Weapons Queer the Experience of Killing in War


Daggett, Cara. 2015. “Drone Disorientations: How ‘Unmanned’ Weapons Queer the Experience of Killing in War.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (3): 361–79. doi:10.1080/14616742.2015.1075317.

Author: Cara Daggett


Killing with drones produces queer moments of disorientation. Drawing on queer phenomenology, I show how militarized masculinities function as spatiotemporal landmarks that give killing in war its “orientation” and make it morally intelligible. These bearings no longer make sense for drone warfare, which radically deviates from two of its main axes: the home–combat and distance–intimacy binaries. Through a narrative methodology, I show how descriptions of drone warfare are rife with symptoms of an unresolved disorientation, often expressed as gender anxiety over the failure of the distance–intimacy and home–combat axes to orient killing with drones. The resulting vertigo sparks a frenzy of reorientation attempts, but disorientation can lead in multiple and sometimes surprising directions – including, but not exclusively, more violent ones. With drones, the point is that none have yet been reliably secured, and I conclude by arguing that, in the midst of this confusion, it is important not to lose sight of the possibility of new paths, and the “hope of new directions.”

Keywords: drones, militarized masculinities, queer phenomenology, robotic war, narrative

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, LGBTQ, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Violence

Year: 2015

War and Gender Performance


Stephan, Rita. 2014. “War and Gender Performance.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (2): 297–316. doi:10.1080/14616742.2013.849969.

Author: Rita Stephan


The 2006 war in Lebanon that erupted between Hezbollah and Israel marked the largest evacuation of Americans abroad since World War II. This article captures the experiences of Lebanese-American women and investigates how gender identity was expressed during these evacuations. Presented from the point of view of a participant-observer and personal interviews, findings show that gender became a master identity that influenced these women's choices regarding how to escape the country and return to the United States. Some embraced dependency upon masculinist exercises of power while others claimed agency as they determined their own fate and carried out their own evacuation without waiting to be rescued by the state or male kin members. The evacuation stories in this article confirm and illuminate the complexity of ethnic citizenship and gendered agency.

Keywords: Lebanon, 2006 Lebanon Israeli war, women's agency, evacuation, gender identity, women and children, feminine vulnerability, patriarchy and militarism, kinship, gender performance

Topics: Citizenship, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugees, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Girls, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Post-Conflict Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Lebanon

Year: 2014

Masculinities, Militarisation and the End Conscription Campaign: War Resistance in Apartheid South Africa


Conway, Daniel. 2012. Masculinities, Militarisation and the End Conscription Campaign: War Resistance in Apartheid South Africa. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Author: Daniel Conway


Masculinities, militarisation and the End Conscription Campaign explores the gendered dynamics of apartheid-era South Africa's militarisation and analyses the defiance of compulsory military service by individual white men, and the anti-apartheid activism of the white men and women in the End Conscription Campaign (ECC), the most significant white anti-apartheid movement to happen in South Africa. Military conscription and objection to it are conceptualised as gendered acts of citizenship and premised on and constitutive of masculinities. Conway draws upon a range of materials and disciplines to produce this socio-political study. Sources include interviews with white men who objected to military service in the South African Defence Force (SADF); archival material, including military intelligence surveillance of the ECC; ECC campaigning material, press reports and other pro-state propaganda. The analysis is informed by perspectives in sociology, international relations, history and from work on contemporary militarised societies such as those in Israel and Turkey. This book also explores the interconnections between militarisation, sexuality, race, homophobia and political authoritarianism. (Summary from Manchester University Press) 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Nationalism Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2012


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