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Warrior heroes and little green men: soldiers, military training, and the construction of rural masculinities

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rachel WoodwardORCiD



In this paper I examine military masculinities as a form of rural masculinity. I argue that one model of military masculinity, the warrior hero, acts as a dominant military construction of masculinity. I examine how the countryside as a location, and rurality as a social construction, impinge upon the construction of the ideal type of the warrior hero. The paper draws on recruitment literature, Ministry of Defence publicity materials, popular accounts of soldiering, and Army videos to trace out the practices and representations that construct the dominant discourse of the warrior hero. The paper is grounded conceptually in theories of gender identity and rurality as social constructions. I conclude by questioning the political consequences, both for rural life and for the armed forces, of this hegemonic model of masculinity.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Woodward R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Rural Sociology

Year: 2000

Volume: 65

Issue: 4

Pages: 640-657

Print publication date: 01/01/2000

Date deposited: 19/11/2009

ISSN (print): 0036-0112

ISSN (electronic): 1549-0831