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Title: Performing gender in the 'theatre of war' : embodying the invasion, counterinsurgency and exit strategy in Afghanistan
Author: Laastad Dyvik, Synne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 5364
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis offers a critical feminist reading of the war in Afghanistan, from invasion, through the practice of counterinsurgency, to the training of the Afghan National Army as a central part of NATO's exit strategy. Empirically it focuses on the discourses, policies and practices of the US and Norwegian militaries in Afghanistan. It draws on a range of material including military doctrine and policy, parliamentary discussions, public policy documents, interviews, political statements and soldiers' memoirs. Deploying the theoretical framework of performative gender with an emphasis on embodiment, it shows how particular gendered bodies are called into being and how the distinct practices of war in Afghanistan produce and rely on a series of multiple, fluid and, at times, contradictory performances of masculinity and femininity. It demonstrates how gendered performances should not be considered superfluous, but rather integral to the practices of war. It illustrates this, first, by examining the production of the (in) visible ‘body in the burqa' alongside the ‘protective masculinity' of Western politicians in the legitimation of the invasion; second, through the ‘soldier-­‐scholars', ‘warriors' and the Female Engagement Teams (FETs) in practices of ‘population­‐centric' counterinsurgency, examining the ways in which counterinsurgency is a gendered and embodied practice; and third, through the remaking of the fledgling Afghan National Army (ANA) recruits in the NATO exit strategy. The thesis furthers feminist studies on gender and war in International Relations by emphasising the multiplicity of gendered bodies and performances by problematizing singular notions of masculinity and femininity. It contributes to existing literature that reads the war in Afghanistan as a neocolonial and biopolitical practice, enhancing these readings by paying attention to the gendering of bodies and their performances, thereby expanding critical investigations into late modern ways of war and counterinsurgency.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DS350 Afghanistan ; JZ1464 Scope of international relations with regard to countries ; territories ; regions ; etc. ; JZ6385 The armed conflict. War and order ; U021 War. Philosophy. Military sociology