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Palgrave Macmillan

Forces for Good?

Military Masculinities and Peacebuilding in Afghanistan and Iraq

ISBN 9780230282261
Publication Date June 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Rethinking Peace and Conflict Studies

Forces for Good? explores British soldier 'herographies' to identify constructions of gender, race, class and nation and their consequences on complex, multi-dimensional operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This book aims to intervene in the debates within critical feminist scholarship over whether soldiers can ever be agents of peace.

Many feminist analyses of military intervention point to the way in which interventions are legitimated by gendered narratives where representatives of civilization are tasked with addressing violent conflict in troubled lands, a story which distracts from the root causes of the violence and enables the furthering of a neoliberal agenda. This book advances this critique by adding the important but hitherto neglected case of the British Army, and challenges its determinism, which Duncanson argues to be normatively, empirically and theoretically problematic.

Exploring the impact of identity and gender constructions on the prospects for successful peacebuilding, this book will appeal to a range of scholars in politics, international relations, peace studies, gender and women's studies, sociology and anthropology.

Claire Duncanson is a Lecturer in International Relations in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Her research and teaching is focused at the intersection of international security, international development and gender politics.

List of Abbreviations
1. Introduction
2. Can Soldiers Ever Be Used to Achieve Peace? Feminists Debate Military Intervention
3. What Can We Learn From Soldiers' Personal Narratives? Methodologies and Methods
4. British Soldier Identity and the Warfighting Ethos
5. British Soldiers Doing and Undoing Empire in Iraq and Afghanistan
6. Regendered Soldiers and the Transformation of Hegemonic Masculinity
7. Conclusion


"As a whole, the book has four major strengths. First, its focus on agency adds balance to a debate that has been biased towards deterministic understandings of how gender affects war and international military interventions. Second, its attention
to complexity, highlighting the tensions and contradictions of gendered identities, adds to our knowledge of the variety of strategies through which masculinity is constructed, reasserted and transformed. Third, its reference to context and intersectionality is a reminder of the historicity of gender, thus strengthening our ability to avoid reified and essentialist visions of gendered social practice. Finally, the book explores, froma new angle, the British contribution to the interventions in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and, as such, it is innovative from an empirical perspective [...] A valuable and thoughtful contribution for understanding the way gender affects the social, cultural and organizational contexts of security." - International Peacekeeping
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