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Mining masculinities in the Canadian military

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Mining masculinities in the Canadian military

Kovitz, Marcia (1998) Mining masculinities in the Canadian military. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Gender is a contested category of analysis, generally understood to describe the characteristics and practices of its end products, men and women. Alternatively, this interdisciplinary study of changing masculinity in the Canadian Forces conceptualizes gender as characterizing the social worlds that people inhabit, worlds through which they are constructed and reconstructed as gendered beings, and which they negotiate, change or resist. The military has been selected as the investigative terrain because military technology--a social system comprising human and material resources--has been under-researched as a matrix of gender in the West. The conceptual framework for this study draws on linkages between gender constructs and warfare practices in various small-scale societies, and on comparisons between the organization and practice of warfare in pre-state versus archaic state societies. The result of this comparative framework is the problematization of certain structural features of the contemporary Forces, features which address one of it core preoccupations: engendering and sustaining bellicosity in its combatants, and obviating their resistance. These technologically rationalized features, shown to be historically anomalous, are designed to control how soldiers think about and carry out their deadly work. The study employs a triangulated methodology to gather data from interviews, written texts, and participant observation. Narrative analysis of this data affords a gendered mapping of military social practice and thought, culminating in the military gendering of human lives and deaths. Women, in their multiple feminine incarnations, are revealed for the threats which they pose to the Forces' 'operational effectiveness'--constructed as homogeneously masculine. Herein lie the ideological and practical reasons why 'gender integration' in the Forces--ordered in a 1989 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling--may be an oxymoron, and why women more readily resist military authoritarianism than men.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Kovitz, Marcia
Pagination:vii, 337 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:1998
Thesis Supervisor(s):Knowles, Caroline
ID Code:420
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:11
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:14
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