Critical Military Studies Issues in 2017
In this special issue on Becoming a warring nation: adjusting to war and violence in Denmark, guest editors Mads Daugbjerg & Birgitte Refslund Sørensen bring together original articles exploring contemporary developments in Denmark in the wake of the country’s involvement in the ‘coalition’ wars of recent decades. Thomas Randrup Pedersen considers Danish 'warrior dreams' and what's at stake is war not only harbours horrors but the potential for self-becoming, for realizing one’s dreams, and for fulfilling one’s desires. Birgitte Refslund Sørensen examines how memorials might provide unique insight into how Denmark’s recent military adventures are ascribed meaning, contested, and negotiated. Mads Daugbjerg considers the significance of an exhibition entitled The Distant War and through it contextualizes and scrutinizes the crafting of war knowledge, and Maj Hedegaard Heiselberg provides new insights into the social consequences of military deployment and the processes of militarization at home by focusing on the everyday lives of Danish soldiers’ families. In Encounters, the focus becomes the UK as Christopher McHugh reflects on his experience of working with a group of British soldiers to create ceramic artworks which responded to their experiences in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
This special issue on Masculinities at the Margins guest edited by Amanda Chisholm and Joanna Tidy invites readers to reconsider our well-established and perhaps too comfortable understandings of and empirical focal points for military masculinities, gender, and war. To this end, Henri Myrttinen, Lana Khattab & Jana Naujoks prompt us to consider masculinities in conflict-affected and peacebuilding contexts and the importance of relating them to their local historical, political, and socio-economic contexts and Amanda Chisholm explores what the intimate relationships between the client and the security contractor can tell us about the marginal and hegemonic men/masculinities of the security industry. Katharine M. Millar & Joanna Tidy problematize the conceptualization and use of ‘combat’ within critical scholarship on masculinities, militaries, and war, and Sarah Bulmer & Maya Eichler shed light on the process of ‘unmaking’ militarized masculinity through the experiences of veterans transitioning from military to civilian life, whilst Marsha Henry makes the case for why discussions of military masculinity, and intersectionality need to be connected with the ‘originary’ black feminist project from which intersectionality was born. In Encounters Marysia Zalewski asks 'What’s the problem with the concept of military masculinities?' Anna M. Agathangelou powerfully draws on the experiences and voice of her mother to prompt us to remember the decolonial struggles located within a wretched colonial ecology, next to the geographical and historical rifts that militarized masculinities generate, haunting our future, and Catherine Baker's review essay of Holly Furneux's Military men of feeling: emotion, touch and masculinity in the Crimean War examines the potential for historical approaches in critical military studies (CMS) to contextualize the relationship between militaries, war, and society across time.
In this issue, Federica Caso examines a Kickstarter campaign, titled Always Loyal, for a photographic project which features physically disabled US veterans who pose in a sexually evocative way. She explores how the homoerotic representation of disabled veterans in the project runs against conventional aesthetic regimes of militarized militarism, investigating whether the addition of disability and homoerotism to the aesthetization of militarism challenges the aesthetics of militarized masculinity. Deborah Cohler then turns our attention to Lifetime Television’s scripted drama Army Wives and related cultural texts, social media platforms, and marketing campaigns to examine the refashioning of ‘domestic’ concerns and how they generate a double narrative which overtly embraces a welfarist model of nationalist sacrifice and reward, while simultaneously promoting individualist neoliberal narratives of self-reliance that underpin defunding state programmes, both military and civilian. Thomas E. Beaumont considers how contemporary practices of responding to those lost to war violence have, at base, an ethical component constructed around the notion of self-sacrifice as a gift given to survivors. He interrogates the desirability of this 'gift-giving' function and the indebtedness it implies, arguing that dominant practices focus on the role performed by those who self-sacrifice in ways that divest the individual of their singularity and uniqueness, and probing the implications of this for warfare. Maria Eriksson Baaz & Judith Verweijen then shed light on the (re)production of the inherently unstable boundaries between military and civilian worlds by attending to a group that rarely features in the debates on the military/civilian divide: army wives in a ‘non-Northern’ context, more specifically the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Drawing upon the ‘analytical toolbox’ of governmentality, they explore how civilian and military positionalities are called upon, articulated, and subverted in the governing and self-governing of Congolese army wives, showing the decisive importance of these wives’ civilian–military ‘in-betweenness’ both in efforts to govern them and in their exercise of agency, in particular the ways in which they ‘tactically reverse’ militarization. Finally, Chris Rossdale whisks us away to his and other people's 'Encounters at the Gate' of the DSEI Arms Fair to reflect on the opportunities for among other things, building solidarity with others struggling against global militarism, through as academic conference at the gates.