Uniform TitleEnlisting masculinity: gender and the recruitment of the all-volunteer force
NameBrown, Melissa (author), Fernandes, Leela (chair), Rhodes, Edward (internal member), Daniels, Cynthia (internal member), Enloe, Cynthia (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Recruiting and enlistment,
DescriptionThis dissertation explores how the US military branches have coped with the problem of recruiting a volunteer force in a period when masculinity, a key ideological underpinning of military service, was widely perceived to be in crisis. The central questions of this dissertation are: when the military appeals to potential recruits, does it present service in masculine terms, and if so, in what forms? How do recruiting materials construct gender as they create ideas about soldiering? Do the four service branches, each with its own history, institutional culture, and specific personnel needs, deploy gender in their recruiting materials in significantly different ways? In order to answer these questions, I collected recruiting advertisements published by the four armed forces in several magazines between 1970 and 2003 and analyzed them using an interpretive textual approach. The print ad sample was supplemented with television commercials, recruiting websites, and media coverage of recruiting.
The dissertation finds that the military branches have presented several versions of masculinity, including both transformed models that are gaining dominance in the civilian sector and traditional warrior forms. While the Marines rely exclusively on a traditional model, the Army, Navy, and Air Force also draw on various strands of masculinity that are in circulation in the wider culture, including professional/managerial forms, masculinity tied to mastery of technology, and hybrid masculinity which combines toughness and aggression with compassion and egalitarianism. The military's use of particular models of masculinity can reinforce their status and help to make them socially dominant, especially within the groups targeted. In the recruiting ads, women are offered some access to characteristics and experiences generally associated with men, but the representations make it clear that men are the primary audience and the desired target. The approach to representing women taken by each service differs, but combat and warriorhood are associated exclusively with men. The dissertation ends with a brief study of military recruiting in Great Britain, to raise the issue of whether the American approach is unique to our military institutions and gender system or whether volunteer militaries in other states deploy constructions of gender in similar ways.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 292-306).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.