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Abstracts, Journal issues, NORMA 3.2

Invisible women and friendly war-fighters: Perceptions of gender and masculinities in the Norwegian armed forces

Torunn Laugen Haaland

Taking the Norwegian Armed Forces as a case study, this article examines how perceptions of gender and masculinities are expressed in internal documents produced by military forces deployed abroad as well as in the military bureaucracy at home during the 1990s. One main finding is that women are largely invisible in these documents. This is true for both female participants in the Norwegian units as well as the local women in the deployment area. Assessments of the gendered consequences of operations are completely lacking. Another significant finding was that aggressiveness was hardly ever mentioned as an important quality among Norwegian military personnel abroad. The most valued qualities of a good soldier were rather endurance, a good sense of humour and personal initiative. However, the forces had a clear image of themselves as militaries, and their main priority was to maintain their warfighting skills. Expressions of racism, misogyny and homophobia were rare, which at least suggests that these are values are not encouraged, or condoned, in military training in Norway.

Keywords
Norwegian armed forces, gender, masculinities, military, sociology, peacekeeping

NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies 3(2), 167-181

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