Sexed Bodies and Military Masculinities: Gender Path Dependence in EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy

  • Citation: Kronsell, Annica. “Sexed Bodies and Military Masculinities: Gender Path Dependence in EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy.” Men and Masculinities 19, no. 3 (August 2016): 311–36.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict and Security
    • Keywords:
    • conflict
    • Europe
    • feminism
    • gender equality
    • hegemonic masculinity

This article explores the European Union (EU)’s Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) through a framework based on feminist institutional theory that highlights the durability in the dynamics of gender relations. Path dependency based on historic features of military institutions—a strict sex division based on “gender war roles”—has influenced the development of different CSDP bodies. The CSDP is sexed because male bodies dominate the organizations studied, yet this remains invisible through normalization. A dominant EU hierarchical military masculinity is institutionalized in the EU’s Military Committee, combat heterosexual masculinity in the Battle groups, and EU protector masculinity in the EU Training missions. The CSDP embodies different types of military masculinities; the relations between them are important for the reproduction of the gender order through a gendered logic of appropriateness. Yet, this too is invisible as part of the informal aspects of organizations. While women’s bodies are written out of the CSDP, the construction of femininity in relation to the protector/protected binary is central to it. Two protected femininities are read in the texts. The vulnerable femininity of women in conflict areas is important for how the CSDP understands itself in relation to gender mainstreaming. In relation to the vulnerable femininity, CSDP constructs an EU protector masculinity, in turn, set against an aggressive violent masculinity in the areas where missions are deployed. Women’s bodies are absent from the CSDP and they lack agency but are nevertheless associated with a protected femininity.

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