International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

The Recruiter and the Sceptic: A Critical Feminist Approach to Military Studies

Document Type

Article

Abstract

To be a critical military analyst is to be a sceptically curious military analyst. Using a critical feminist approach to studying the military can help to generate more reliable explanations and more realistic accountings of the creation and role of any given military and of broader processes of militarization. This article moves from a memorial of an army recruitment stand in Somerville, Massachusetts, to broad questions on the strategies of military recruitment and the ways in which masculinities and femininities are used by recruiters. These questions are central for recruiters in meeting their quotas, yet are regularly ignored by military analysts. These questions include: which genders, ethnicities, sexualities and classes are targeted and excluded for recruitment and reenlistment? How are narrow perceptions of manliness used to encourage enlistments? How are the mothers, girlfriends and wives of potential enlistees engaged with by recruiters? These speak to broader questions on how militaries are created, sustained and deployed. The calculations made by recruiters are usually shielded from view to maintain perceptions of legitimacy within the eyes of citizens. A critical approach to military studies brings these calculations into view and calls for scepticism, a deepening curiosity and a serious engagement with feminist questions.

Publication Title

Critical Military Studies

Publication Date

1-1-2015

Volume

1

Issue

1

First Page

3

Last Page

10

ISSN

2333-7486

DOI

10.1080/23337486.2014.961746

Keywords

feminism, masculinities, militarization, recruitment

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