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September 10 , 2009

Citizen-Soldiers and Manly Warriors

Military Service and Gender in the Civic Republican Tradition


What happens in a tradition that links citizenship with soldiering when women become citizens? Citizen Soldiers and Manly Warriors: Military Service and Gender in the Civic Republican Tradition provides an in-depth analysis of the theory and practice of the citizen-soldier in historical context. Using a postmodern feminist lens, Snyder reveals that within the citizen-soldier tradition, citizenship and masculinity are simultaneously constituted through engagement in civic and martial practices. Seeking to sever the connection between masculinity and citizenship, Snyder calls for women to make 'gender trouble' by engaging in the practices traditionally constitutive of masculine republican citizenship. However, in order to reconstitute the Citizen-Soldier traditionDthe only tradition we have that holds the military up to democratic standardsDwe must not only 'trouble' but also reconfigure our understandings of gender and citizenship. Thus gender parity in the American military is not enough. We must also change the type of masculinity produced by the military, reintroduce the military to its civic purposes, expand the 'citizenship of civic practices' to include other non-martial forms of service, and give citizens a greater role in political decision making.
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