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Deconstructing Discourse: Gender and Operational Effectiveness in the Swedish Armed Forces

Steen, Frida LU (2015) SIMV07 20151
Department of Political Science
Master of Science in Global Studies
Graduate School
Abstract
Fifteen years after the adoption of UNSCR 1325, the resolution and its effects remains contested. Sweden, a champion of gender equality, was one of the first countries to adopt a National Action Plan and is now leading the push for worldwide implementation of UNSCR 1325. At the front of Sweden’s internationalist efforts is the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF). Internally, the SAF acts to be a gender equal employer, while externally applying a gender- perspective in missions to increase operational effectiveness. Even though gender is receiving increased attention, questions arise concerning the military as an institution historically dominated by norms of masculinity. Through a poststructural feminist framework that conceptualizes the military... (More)
Fifteen years after the adoption of UNSCR 1325, the resolution and its effects remains contested. Sweden, a champion of gender equality, was one of the first countries to adopt a National Action Plan and is now leading the push for worldwide implementation of UNSCR 1325. At the front of Sweden’s internationalist efforts is the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF). Internally, the SAF acts to be a gender equal employer, while externally applying a gender- perspective in missions to increase operational effectiveness. Even though gender is receiving increased attention, questions arise concerning the military as an institution historically dominated by norms of masculinity. Through a poststructural feminist framework that conceptualizes the military as an institution of hegemonic masculinity, this thesis deconstructs and identifies six prevalent discourses within the SAF; gender as a tool for operational effectiveness; women as separate and complimentary; quantifying women’s bodies; protecting the vulnerable woman; gender - a woman’s issue and portraying the Swedish image. This study argues that women’s agency weakens, the importance of gender is diminished, and the hierarchical separation between the sexes is reinforced, through these discourses. As gender is treated as a strategic tool adapted for organizational purposes, its potential to transform understandings of conflict and security weakens. Moreover, norms of masculinity are still deeply embedded in the institution and have, to a large extent, remained unquestioned and reproduced. (Less)
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author
Steen, Frida LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMV07 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
5469211
date added to LUP
2015-06-16 08:55:04
date last changed
2015-06-18 14:04:26
@misc{5469211,
  abstract     = {Fifteen years after the adoption of UNSCR 1325, the resolution and its effects remains contested. Sweden, a champion of gender equality, was one of the first countries to adopt a National Action Plan and is now leading the push for worldwide implementation of UNSCR 1325. At the front of Sweden’s internationalist efforts is the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF). Internally, the SAF acts to be a gender equal employer, while externally applying a gender- perspective in missions to increase operational effectiveness. Even though gender is receiving increased attention, questions arise concerning the military as an institution historically dominated by norms of masculinity. Through a poststructural feminist framework that conceptualizes the military as an institution of hegemonic masculinity, this thesis deconstructs and identifies six prevalent discourses within the SAF; gender as a tool for operational effectiveness; women as separate and complimentary; quantifying women’s bodies; protecting the vulnerable woman; gender - a woman’s issue and portraying the Swedish image. This study argues that women’s agency weakens, the importance of gender is diminished, and the hierarchical separation between the sexes is reinforced, through these discourses. As gender is treated as a strategic tool adapted for organizational purposes, its potential to transform understandings of conflict and security weakens. Moreover, norms of masculinity are still deeply embedded in the institution and have, to a large extent, remained unquestioned and reproduced.},
  author       = {Steen, Frida},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Deconstructing Discourse: Gender and Operational Effectiveness in the Swedish Armed Forces},
  year         = {2015},
}