ÖZP 2008/2 S.147-164
De-Militarizing Masculinities in the Age of Empire
Keywords: masculinity, militarization, gender, veterans, September 11
This article examines critically the relationship between men, dominant conceptions of masculinity, and the processes and practices that are at play as masculinities become militarized and deployed to fight a war. Following a critical review of feminist and non-feminist literature on militarization and masculinities, the article focuses on the prospects for de-militarizing men and masculinities in the United States empire since 11 September 2001 and especially in the context of the US-led wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. The analysis distinguishes between the military as a system, militarization as a process, and soldiers as human beings. As war cannot be fought without militarized masculinities, soldiers? war stories help de-mystify war, also work in turn to weaken, if not undo, the tightly constructed knot between masculinities and violence. Towards this end, a close reading of soldiers? accounts is at the center of the article. A key conclusion of the article is that the process of de-militarization has to explicitly call into question and to de-legitimize all systems of domination and oppression, including sexism, racism, and homophobia, that have been used both explicitly and implicitly during the process of militarization.