Episode 11

Published on:

11th Feb 2022

Prof Paul Higate - Militarism and Military Masculinities: Why Do They Matter?

With the build-up of Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine, and the macho posturing of political leaders, military masculinities remain highly influential. But what does this concept mean, and is it something we should be concerned about? How are masculinities constructed within the armed forces? Is UK society becoming increasingly influenced by militarism? We explore these questions and much more with Professor Paul Higate.

Paul is Professor in Security and Conflict at the University of Bath, in the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies. He is an advisory editor for the journal Men & Masculinities, and on the editorial board for the journal Critical Military Studies. He was previously in the Royal Air Force for 8 years as a non-commissioned officer, having enlisted when he was 17.

Paul’s research has focused on the links between service in the British army and homelessness, the experience of armed service leavers more broadly, peacekeepers and sexual exploitation, security and host populations hosting peacekeeping operations, and Private Military Security Companies and masculinity. In 2003 he edited the book ‘Military Masculinities: Identity and the State’ (Praeger). You can read more about Paul’s work here: https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/persons/paul-higate, and find him on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-higate-956876b/.

We cover the following topics in this episode:

  • What 'military masculinities' are 
  • The values celebrated within military masculinity
  • How the military is viewed in the UK 
  • Misogyny, homophobia, extremism in service subcultures
  • Parallels between military culture and other masculinised institutions
  • Violence against women in the military
  • 'Feminisation' of the military and more inclusionary approaches to race, sexuality, religion
  • Paul’s experience in the RAF and the impact it had on him
  • Paul’s PhD research on homelessness among veterans
  • Early recruitment of young people in the UK
  • Militarism in Britain: Troops to Teachers, cadet forces, services visibility
  • Impacts of war toys and video games
  • Symbolism of the poppy
  • What the military might look like in the future

Some of Paul’s work:

Other resources of interest:

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About the Podcast

Now and Men
Current conversations about men's lives
What's it like to be a man in the 21st century? How are feminist issues relevant to men and boys? These questions are being discussed more than ever.

Our monthly podcast delves into these issues with experts such as practitioners, activists and academics. In each episode, you’ll hear in-depth conversations about masculinity, gender equality, and the lives of men and boys, with topics ranging from preventing violence against women, to promoting active fatherhood, to supporting men's health.

The podcast is created and hosted by Dr Stephen Burrell, Sandy Ruxton and Professor Nicole Westmarland, who are researchers from the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA), in the Department of Sociology at Durham University in the UK. If you would like to give us your feedback, suggest a guest, or have a question you'd like us to discuss in a future episode, get in touch with us at nowandmen@gmail.com.

About your hosts

Stephen Burrell

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I am a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Durham University in the UK, and a Deputy Director of the Centre for Research into Violence and Abuse (CRiVA). My research is about men and masculinities - especially preventing men's violence against women, and currently, engaging men and boys in caring for the planet. I'm also a trustee for White Ribbon UK and on the steering group for Changing Relations CIC. In my spare time I'm a big fan of drinking tea and being in nature.

Sandy Ruxton

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Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Durham University (UK). Independent researcher, expert on men and masculinities. Previous policy work on human rights, children and families, poverty and social exclusion, and asylum and migration. Programme experience with boys and young men in schools, community, and prisons. Steering Committee member, MenEngage Europe. Volunteer for OX4 Food Crew. Chess-player, bike-rider, tree-hugger. Great grandfather edited Boy's Own Paper, but was sacked.