Militarized Livelihoods

Liberal Warriors and the Violent Colonial Logics of "Partnering and Advising"


Welland, Julia. 2015. “Liberal Warriors and the Violent Colonial Logics of ‘Partnering and Advising.’” International Feminist Journal of Politics 17 (2): 289–307. doi:10.1080/14616742.2014.890775.

Author: Julia Welland


Building on the feminist literature that traces the (re)production of militarized masculinities in and through military interventions, this article details some of the ways British soldiering subjects are being shaped in today's counterinsurgency context. Required now to be both nation builders and war fighters, contemporary soldiers are a “softer,” less masculinized subjectivity, and what Alison Howell has termed “liberal warriors.” British troops with their long history of colonialism and frequent overseas military campaigns are understood to be particularly suited to this role. Taking the British military's involvement in the “partnering and advising” of the Afghan National Army (ANA), this article pays attention to the interlocking gendered, raced, and sexualized discourses through which the British/Afghan encounter is experienced. Exploring first British troops' preoccupation with the perceived femininity and homosexuality of their Afghan counterparts, and second, Afghan hypermasculinity as demonstrated by the characterizations of their violent and chaotic fighting tactics, colonial logics are revealed. While British liberal warriors come to know “who they are” through these logics, (mis)represented Afghan soldiers are rendered increasingly vulnerable to the very “real,” very material violences of war.

Keywords: militarized masculinities, counterinsurgency, Afghanistan, ANA, colonial logics

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2015

Women and the Military in Europe: Comparing Public Cultures


Eulriet, Irène. 2012. Women and the Military in Europe: Comparing Public Cultures. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK. t

Author: Irène Eulriet


This book explores how public cultures shape women's military participation within the European Union. It analyzes the way in which different policy options have been elaborated in the United Kingdom, France and Germany and examines patterns of women's military participation across societies.
(Palgrave Macmillan)

Keywords: international relations, gender studies, social policy, sociology of work, organizational studies, economic sociology, military and defence studies

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Society, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Europe, Central Europe, Western Europe Countries: France, Germany, United Kingdom

Year: 2012

The Health Consequences of the Mozambican Civil War: An Anthropometric Approach


Domingues, Patrick, and Thomas Barre. 2013. “The Health Consequences of the Mozambican Civil War: An Anthropometric Approach.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 61 (4): 755–88. doi:10.1086/670377.

Authors: Patrick Domingues, Thomas Barre


Survivors of a war bear the burden of reconstruction; therefore, understanding the costs of civil conflicts to survivors' health is crucial for the design of postwar economic policies. This article investigates this issue by examining the Mozambican Civil War using an original georeferenced event data set. The results presented here show that fully grown women exposed to the conflict during the early years of their lives have poorer health, as reflected by a lower height-for-age z-score. Using the infancy-childhood-puberty curves, a concept used in the medical literature to study the human growth process, this study demonstrates that this negative effect depends on both age at the time of exposure to the civil war and the number of months spent in the conflict zone. Furthermore, this study finds that the number of months of prenatal civil war exposure has a negative impact on a woman's health, thereby highlighting the importance of prenatal conditions for health outcomes.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Gender, Health, Reproductive Health, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 2013

Women as "Practitioners" and "Targets."


Dyvik, Synne Laastad. 2014. “Women as ‘Practitioners’ and ‘Targets.’” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (3): 410–29. doi:10.1080/14616742.2013.779139.

Author: Synne Laastad Dyvik


Feminist scholarship has shown how gender is integral to understanding war, and that the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 was partly legitimated through a reference to Afghan women's ‘liberation’. Recognizing this, the article analyses how gender is crucial also to understanding the practice of ‘population-centric’ counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. Because this type of warfare aims at ‘winning hearts and minds’, it is in engaging the population that a notable gendered addition to the US military strategy surfaces, Female Engagement Teams (FETs). Citing ‘cultural sensitivity’ as a key justification, the US deploys all-female teams to engage with and access a previously untapped source of intelligence and information, namely Afghan women. Beyond this being seen as necessary to complete the task of population-centric counterinsurgency, it is also hailed as a progressive step that contributes to Afghan women's broader empowerment. Subjecting population-centric counterinsurgency to feminist analysis, this article finds that in constructing women both as ‘practitioners’ and ‘targets’, this type of warfare constitutes another chapter in the various ways that their bodies have been relied upon for its ‘success’.

Keywords: Afghanistan, counterinsurgency, cultural turn, empowerment, female engagement teams, feminism, military masculinities

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Terrorism Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Afghanistan

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

The Silenced and Indispensible


Chisholm, Amanda. 2014. “The Silenced and Indispensible.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 16 (1): 26–47. 

Author: Amanda Chisholm


Using postcolonial analysis coupled with fieldwork in both Afghanistan and Nepal, I argue that contemporary colonial relations within private security make possible a gender and racial hierarchy of security contractors. This hierarchy of contractors results in vastly different conditions of possibilities depending on the contractors' histories and nationalities. Empirically documenting perspectives from Gurkhas, constituted as third country national (TCNs) security contractors, this article contributes to the existing critical theory and gender in both private military security company literature and postcolonial studies by (1) providing a needed racial and gendered analysis from the position of the racialized security contractors and (2) empirically documenting a growing subaltern group of men participating as security contractors.

Keywords: private security, private military security companies, third country nationals, Gurkhas, Afghanistan, martial race, postcolonial, masculinities, gender

Topics: Combatants, Male Combatants, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Privatization Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Nepal

Year: 2014

Women and the Political Economy of War


Raven-Roberts, Angela. 2012. "Women and the Political Economy of War." In Women and Wars, edited by Carol Cohn, 36-53. Malden, MA: Polity Press.  

Author: Angela Raven-Roberts

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Political Economies

Year: 2012

Militarism, conflict and women's activism in the global era: Challenges and prospects for women in three West African contexts


Mama, Amina and Margo Okazawa-Rey. 2012. "Militarism, conflict and women's activism in the global era: challenges and prospects for women in three West African contexts." Feminist Review 101 (1): 97-123.

Authors: Amina Mama, Margo Okazawa-Rey


This article develops a feminist perspective on militarism in Africa, drawing examples from the Nigerian, Sierra Leonean and Liberian civil wars spanning several decades to examine women’s participation in the conflict, their survival and livelihood strategies, and their activism. We argue that postcolonial conflicts epitomise some of the worst excesses of militarism in the era of neoliberal globalisation, and that the economic, organisational and ideological features of militarism undermine the prospects for democratisation, social justice and genuine security, especially for women, in post-war societies. Theorisations of ‘new wars’ and the war economy are taken as entry points to a discussion of the conceptual and policy challenges posed by the enduring and systemic cultural and material aspects of militarism. These include the contradictory ways in which women are affected by the complex relationship between gendered capitalist processes and militarism, and the manner in which women negotiate their lives through both. Finally, we highlight the potential of transnational feminist theorising and activism for strengthening intellectual and political solidarities and argue that the globalised military security system can be our ‘common context for struggle’1 as contemporary feminist activist scholars.

Keywords: militarism, gender, armed conflict, West Africa, feminism, security

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Democracy / Democratization, Economies, Gender, Femininity/ies, Globalization, Justice, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Security Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

Year: 2012

Social Dynamics in Militarised Livelihood Systems: Evidence from a Study of Ugandan Army Soldiers


Lautze, Susan. 2008. “Social Dynamics in Militarised Livelihood Systems: Evidence from a Study of Ugandan Army Soldiers.” Journal of Eastern African Studies 2 (3): 415-38.

Author: Susan Lautze


This article discusses intra-familial tensions and related implications of fraught relationships for government soldiers’ livelihoods systems in war-affected areas of northern Uganda. While anthropologists have long recognised households as dynamic zones of contestation, development practice continues to perceive households as the central dwelling of cooperative families. Heads of household are assumed by humanitarian organisations to be benevolent representatives of the family, but this may conflict with the realities of compound-level tensions, leading to a loss of access to resources by the most vulnerable. The concept of livelihood units may be a more correct focus than the notion of households, but the former can be difficult to measure. Analysts must therefore take care to study households not only as units of analysis but also as units to be analysed. Relative wealth and poverty are shown here to exist under the same roof because soldiers and others practice inter- and intra-household discrimination. No family can be maintained on a private's salary, and some soldiers require additional aid from their families in order to support themselves in barracks. The itinerant lifestyle and stresses of frequent relocation of army families produce distinct social, health and financial liabilities. Soldiers’ wives and children were among the least healthy of all in the study, and the relations between soldiers’ wives and mothers were often characterised by bitter discord. Such micro-cleavages contrast with the expectations on the part of government and the international community regarding the need to forgive those who pursue violent, militarised livelihoods in northern Uganda.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Men, Health, Households, Livelihoods, Militarized Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2008


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