Document Type

Forum Theme 1


In this multimedia presentation, I combine images and text to argue that organized violence in the global system depends on shared gender cultures, networks, and transactions: Wars are violent confrontations AND collaborations among men and manhoods. Contemporary conflicts are very often depicted as "clashes of civilizations," but in many important respects they are collaborations of masculine cultures and systems of honor. Although organized violence involves men on opposing sides of ethnic or class or national boundaries, ironically, such violence depends on cooperation both among allies and among enemies. Men join forces with comrades as bands of brothers, as men in arms, as buddies bound together fighting the good fight. Men also rely on enemy men to serve as credible and admirable adversaries. Men reach across battle lines to hold both allies and antagonists in combat theatres; they are teammates in the martial arts, costars in honor, and vocabularies of dominations and resistance constitute a gendered cultural [battle] field upon which conflicts are fought. Femininities and women occupy a problematic and contradictory place in confrontations between masculinities. Like men, women are collaborators in war. They are often enlisted in men's conflicts either as potential victims to be defended or as enemy property militarized masculine performances. "Womenandchildren" are one answer to the question, "why we fight?" In this presentation I present quotes from religious and political extremists Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Osama bin Laden and images from Western popular culture, military history, and recent U.S. wars to illustrate the role of gender confrontations and collaborations in armed conflicts.

Publication Date

Fall 2006

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©2006 Joane Nagel



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