Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Research Student: Linda Roland Danil

Warrior Masculinities: Soldiers, peacekeepers, private military and security contractors, gender, and the Laws of War in the contemporary period

Photo of Linda Roland Danil

I graduated with an LLB Law (Hons) from the University of Bristol, UK and went on to study for an MA in Gender (Research) at the University of Leeds, UK. I am presently a Doctoral Candidate/Teaching Assistant/Researcher based at the University of Leeds.

My present research focuses on “mercenary” masculinities - in particular private military contractors (PMC) or private security contractors, as they refer to themselves, who are presently based in Western Europe and the USA. Specifically, this entails looking at the gender identity of male PMCs, the impact of gender identity upon the work culture of private military and security firms and the conduct of PMCs, the corporate nature of private military firms and the neo-liberal global order in which they operate, and the laws of war, and predominantly the international humanitarian law framework, that govern PMCs. Through an analysis of the masculine identity of male PMCs, my work also aims to assess potential causes/reasons for human rights abuses, and whether the prism of masculinities can provide potential answers/ be a contributing factor for human rights abuses.

Further, the international legal framework that governs PMCs will be examined, and I will explore whether the laws of war that govern PMCs create an unmediated, indistinct zone (by unmediated and indistinct what is meant is a zone in which the laws of war do not fully regulate the actions of PMCs, but are not entirely inconsequential either) that PMCs inhabit, which is both a source of power (as PMCs are not effectively regulated), but also a source of weakness. This indistinct, unmediated zone may also be a source of weakness for PMCs as it makes them more apparent within the international community, and thus more open to public scrutiny and contestation, as they are not yet normalized (and thus rendered acceptable). Normalization entails rendering an event or a practice “normal” and tolerable to the point where it is no longer consistently questioned.

Through the prism of PMCs and their associated corporate culture, the research questions how masculinities impact upon the international legal order and the global world order, and the economy of violence, in order to reinforce a certain, inherently masculine domination on a global scale. In this manner, the potentially harmful effects of globalization, and its masculine, imperial shadow, will also be examined in order to assess the potential for practices of resistance that are not predicated or dictated, overtly or covertly, by the male monopoly on capital, labour power, trade, transnational corporations, and most importantly, the economy of violence.

Note: Consequent to my research, the remit of my thesis has expanded, and I am now looking at soldiers and peacekeepers as well as private military/security contractors, and the laws of war, and predominantly, the international humanitarian law framework that governs them, within the context of what I call the “global war machine”.

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