Masculinities: Tracing the Trajectories of Gender Performance in War Poetry
Keywords:masculinity, Afghanistan war, poetry, post 9/11
This paper critically examines the war songs and poems of men who fought in the post 9/11 Afghanistan war. The study locates the analysis within the socio-cultural influences that left an impact on the ‘manly’ soldiers, allowing a 'micro mapping' of masculinity to be revealed in these men’s writings. Using thematic analysis techniques, fifty war songs and poemsfrom the years 2007 and 2008 are analyzed through the lens of masculinity and its performance. The critical investigation of the war songs and poems found that the performative dimension of masculinities in war spread around the themes of youth warriors; weapons; arms and war machinery; state of politics and need for an Islamic government; the motif of red color; and glorification of death. The religion Islam, their homeland Afghanistan and its traditional culture constantly act as a fuel to evoke overpowering emotions for the soldiers and their passion for fighting. It is furthermore found that the locally constructed masculinities informed the context ofthe Afghanistan War. This has implications for the way we understand masculinities especially in war poetry. As the paper demonstrates, the multiple ways in which the notion of masculinity is manifested in war poems point to the need to break free from the stereotypical understandings of warriors from conservative religious backgrounds.
Bailey, K. (2008). Methods of social research.Simon and Schuster.
Barrett, F. J. (1996). The organizational construction of hegemonic masculinity: The case of the US Navy. Gender, Work & Organization, 3(3), 129-142.
Braudy, L. (2010). From chivalry to terrorism: War and the changing nature of masculinity. Vintage.
Brittan, A. (1989). Masculinity and power. Basil Blackwell.
Butler, J. (1990).Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York, Routledge.
Butler, J. (1993).Bodies that matter: on the discursive limits of "sex".London, Routledge.
Butler, J. (2004).Undoing Gender. London, Routledge.
Campbell, H., Bell, M. M., and Finney, M. (2006).Country Boys, Masculinity and Rural Life.Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania University Press.
Connell, R. W. (1995).Masculinities.Cambridge, Polity Press.
Connell, R. W. (1998).R.W.Connell's Masculinities: Reply.Gender and Society, 12 (4), 474 - 477.
Connell, R. W. (2002).On hegemonic masculinity and violence: Response to Jefferson and Hall.Theoretical Criminology, 6 (1), 89-99.
Connell, R. W., & Messerschmidt, J. W. (2005). Hegemonic masculinity rethinking the concept. Gender & society, 19(6), 829-859.
David, H. J. (1994). Morgan, Theater of War: Combat, the Military, and Masculinities. Brod and Kaufman, Theorizing Masculinities, 168.
Ezzy, D. (1998). Theorizing Narrative Identity: Symbolic Interactionism and Hermeneutics. The Sociological Quarterly, 39 (2), 239-252.
Hearn, J. (1987). The gender of oppression: Men, masculinity and the critique of Marxism. Wheatsheaf.
Hey, V. (2006). The politics of performative resignification: Translating Judith Butler’s theoretical discourse and its potential for sociology of education. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 27(4), 439-457.
Higate, P. (Ed.). (2003). Military masculinities: Identity and the state. Praeger Publishers.
Lee, R. M. (2000). Unobtrusive methods in social research. Open University Press.
Rahmany, M., Stanikzai, H., Strick, L. A., & Kuehn, F. (2012). Poetry of the Taliban. London, Hurst.
Scheff, T. J. (2006). Goffman Unbound. Colorado, Paradigm Publishers.
Segal, L. (1993). Changing Men: Masculinities in Context.Theory and Society, 22 (5), 625-641.
Woodward, R. (2000). Warrior Heroes and Little Green Men: Soldiers, Military Training andthe Construction of Rural Masculinities.Rural Sociology, 65 (4), 640-57.