War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa / Edition 1

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Overview

Gender roles are nowhere more prominent than in war. Yet contentious debates, and the scattering of scholarship across academic disciplines, have obscured understanding of how gender affects war and vice versa. In this authoritative and lively review of our state of knowledge, Joshua Goldstein assesses the possible explanations for the near-total exclusion of women from combat forces, through history and across cultures. Topics covered include the history of women who did fight and fought well, the complex role of testosterone in men's social behaviors, and the construction of masculinity and femininity in the shadow of war. Goldstein concludes that killing in war does not come naturally for either gender, and that gender norms often shape men, women, and children to the needs of the war system. Illustrated with photographs, drawings, and graphics, and drawing from scholarship spanning six academic disciplines, this book provides a unique study of a fascinating issue.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The war between the sexes is not so different from war itself, according to this provocative and disturbing study of how gender is inextricably embedded into human conceptions of war and aggression. Pointing to consistent, cross-cultural gender arrangements throughout history most fighting soldiers have been male; patriarchies have traditionally used the ideal of the vulnerable female to encourage male violence during war Goldstein (Three Way Street) has amassed a huge array of research, literature and anecdote in this comprehensive, cohesive overview of dozens of subtopics, from myths of Amazon warriors to changes in the design and marketing of GI Joe dolls over the decades. He astutely evaluates studies of the effects of childhood sex segregation, drawing disconcerting conclusions that it prepares and preconditions children for adult wartime behavior. His analysis of female military imagery and women's frequent participation in revolutionary movements is imaginative and convincing: "The image of a woman holding a rifle and a baby is found in liberation movements across the third world." At times it seems like Goldstein, professor of international relations at the American University in Washington, D.C., has bitten off more than anyone could chew in a single volume. His inquiry into wartime rape and the feminization of the male enemy relies too heavily on Richard C. Trexler's fascinating but flawed Sex and Conquest, and his worthwhile critical use of Lionel Tiger's classic Men in Groups falls short of grappling with the book's problems. But overall, he has produced a remarkable compendium of information and analysis that moves toward a vital, ongoing cultural discussion. Photos andillus. (Oct. 17) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Goldstein has amassed a huge array of research, literature and anecdote in this comprehensive, cohesive overview of dozens of subtopics, from myths of Amazon warriors to changes in the design of GI Joe dolls over the decades." Publishers Weekly

"...a fascinating book about an important issue. I thoroughly recommend it to everyone who has an interest in why we humans behave the way we do." Jane Goodall, primatologist, The Jane Goodall Institute

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521001809
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 540
  • Sales rank: 1,191,495
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Joshua Goldstein is Professor of International Relations at the American University, Washington DC. He is the author of several research works and textbooks, and has specialised in research into the management of regional conflicts.
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Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
Preface
1 A puzzle: the cross-cultural consistency of gender roles in war 1
A The universal gendering of war 10
B The universal potential for war 22
C Feminist theories of war and peace 34
2 Women warriors: the historical record of female combatants 59
A Female combat units 60
B Mixed-gender units 77
C Individual women fighters 106
D Women military leaders 116
3 Bodies: the biology of individual gender 128
A Genetics 139
B Testosterone levels 143
C Size and strength 159
D Brains and cognition 169
E Female sex hormones 179
4 Groups: bonding, hierarchy, and social identity 183
A Male bonding 194
B Ability to work in hierarchies 203
C In-group/out-group psychology 217
D Childhood gender segregation 228
5 Heroes: the making of militarized masculinity 251
A Test of manhood as a motivation to fight 252
B Feminine reinforcement of soldiers' masculinity 301
C Women's peace activism 322
6 Conquests: sex, rape, and exploitation in wartime 332
A Male sexuality as a cause of aggression 333
B Feminization of enemies as symbolic domination 356
C Dependence on exploiting women's labor 380
7 Reflection: the mutuality of gender and war 403
References 415
Index 481
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