3551 - Regarding the nexus of gender and violence in the opening of the Mexican military to women

Gender relations are fundamentally formed by a specific social organization of violence. The military constitutes a central institution for linking masculinity with violence and femininity with vulnerability. This relationship can be seen on different social dimensions: the macro-level of the nation-state, the meso-level of the military organization and the micro-level of the subjectivation process within the military. Integrating women on a broader level in the armed forces leads to some kind of rupture of this gendered organization of violence.  

The Mexican armed forces constitute a very interesting regional subject for analysing these changes as they have a huge impact on the local population. In a state with regions shaped by extreme violence the Mexican military is exclusively and increasingly deployed in the interior where the state monopoly on violence is contested by guerilla fighters and organised crime. The recent opening of the Mexican military to women within this context of armed conflict is an ongoing and disputed process.  

This presentation focuses on women´s integration into the Mexican armed forces, considering the question of how the relation of gender and violence is (re)negotiated within this process. How is military violence framed as masculine or feminine within the military organization, its rules, structures and interactions? In which ways is this challenged, reorganized or changed due to the inclusion of women? The study is based on the analysis of the formal integration procedure as well as its practical realization and qualitative interviews with Mexican military members.  

Keywords: Conflicto armado, grupos (para) militares y de insurgencia, género, feminidades

Author: Thiel, Louise (University of Vienna, Austria / Österreich)


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