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Enlisting masculinity: gender and the recruitment of the all-volunteer force

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Title
Enlisting masculinity: gender and the recruitment of the all-volunteer force
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Brown
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Melissa
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Melissa Brown
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author
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Fernandes
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Leela
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Advisory Committee
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Leela Fernandes
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chair
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Rhodes
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Edward
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Advisory Committee
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Edward Rhodes
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Daniels
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Cynthia
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Advisory Committee
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Cynthia R. Daniels
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Enloe
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Cynthia
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Advisory Committee
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Cynthia Enloe
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Rutgers University
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Graduate School - New Brunswick
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theses
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2007
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2007
Language
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English
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electronic
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viii, 307 pages
Abstract
This 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.
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references (p. 292-306).
Subject (ID = SUBJ1); (authority = RUETD)
Topic
Political Science
Subject (ID = SUBJ2); (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Recruiting and enlistment
Subject (ID = SUBJ3); (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Armed Forces
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Graduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Identifier (type = local)
rucore19991600001
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http://hdl.rutgers.edu/1782.2/rucore10001600001.ETD.15791
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ETD_359
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Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3FX79WG
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
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The author owns the copyright to this work.
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Open
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Melissa Brown
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Rutgers University. Graduate School - New Brunswick
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I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
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