Knowing Masculinities in Armed Conflict? : Reflections from Research in the Democratic Republic of Congo

TitleKnowing Masculinities in Armed Conflict? : Reflections from Research in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Publication TypeBook Chapter
AuthorsCahn, Naomi.
Book TitleThe Oxford Handbook of Gender and Conflict
Pagination532-545
Abstract

Drawing on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork with members of the Congolese military, this chapter explores conceptions of militarized masculinity, particularly in the context of sexual violence perpetrated by Congolese government forces during the protracted conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The chapter opens with a review of the feminist research regarding the interconnectedness of gender, militarization, and war, comparing these theories with the conceptions of masculinity articulated by Congolese soldiers. While portions of the interviews were consistent with prevailing research framings, the chapter documents various points of dissonance. These include differences in the articulation of what characteristics make one a “good soldier”; the recurring articulations of vulnerability and failure; and a perception of rape as the action of an emasculated man. The chapter concludes with the authors’ reflection on their experience carrying out their research and the ethics of research in a post-colonial context.

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