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Beyond the Band of Brothers
The US Military and the Myth that Women Can't Fight

  • Date Published: June 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107628106

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  • Women can't fight. This assumption lies at the heart of the combat exclusion, a policy that was fiercely defended as essential to national security, despite evidence that women have been contributing to hostile operations now and throughout history. This book examines the role of women in the US military and the key arguments used to justify the combat exclusion, in the light of the decision to reverse the policy in 2013. Megan MacKenzie considers the historic role of the combat exclusion in shaping American military identity and debunks claims that the recent policy change signals a new era for women in the military. MacKenzie shows how women's exclusion from combat reaffirms male supremacy in the military and sustains a key military myth, the myth of the band of brothers. This book will be welcomed by scholars and students of military studies, gender studies, social and military history, and foreign policy.

    • Presents a new perspective on the band of brothers myth and its relation to women in combat
    • Offers a new way of thinking about the role of myth and emotion in relation to policy
    • Includes a discussion of the 2013 announcement that the combat exclusion for women would be removed
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Megan MacKenzie has offered us all a careful, persuasive dissection of a potent patriarchal myth. After reading this accessible book, 'combat', 'bonding', 'upper body strength' and 'national security' will never look the same. Beyond the Band of Brothers is for anyone interested in grappling with myth, militarism or sexism.' Cynthia Enloe, author of Bananas, Beaches and Bases

    'Women's combat exclusion is gone: yet myths glorifying wars and men who fight them are as strong as ever. Mackenzie challenges us to engage in more profound conversations about the tragedies of war.' J. Ann Tickner, American University, Washington DC

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2015
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107628106
    • length: 234 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.32kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: myths, men and policy making
    1. The combat exclusion is a story we tell ourselves … about men
    2. The disintegration of the combat exclusion in Iraq and Afghanistan
    3. It just doesn't feel right: emotion and the combat exclusion policy
    4. Faster, stronger, more male: women and the failure of physical standards
    5. Sex, cohesion, and national security
    6. Using online debates to map public reaction to the combat exclusion
    Conclusion.

  • Author

    Megan MacKenzie, University of Sydney
    Megan MacKenzie is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney. Her research centers on gender and security. Her book Female Soldiers in Sierra Leone: Sex, Security and Post-Conflict Development (2012) included interviews with over 50 female soldiers who participated in Sierra Leone's civil war.

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