The Gender Politics of “Ground Truth” in the Military Dissent Movement: The power and limits of authenticity claims regarding war

Joanna Tidy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
212 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article analyses the politics of ‘ground truth’, a premise central to the contemporary military dissent movement in the United States. Ground truth refers to the ‘truths’ about war that soldiers who have experienced its realities can bring to bear on prevailing war narratives in order to disrupt them. The article identifies how the authority of ground truth is bound with accounts of gender and sexuality through which particular understandings of war (principally war as combat and violence) are reproduced. Examination of two prominent dissenting subject positions within the movement, the ‘(anti)war hero’ and the ‘peace mom’, suggests that authority to oppose war is organised around the hegemonic military masculine figure of the warrior hero. Potentially more unruly war experiences, such as those of non-combat military personnel, remain obscured. I explore what perspectives and understandings of war might be revealed if we consider non-combat personnel as actively engaged in and experiencing war, and discuss implications for dissent. The article therefore addresses how gendered power structures the ways in which war is known, understood and also opposed through authenticity-based authority claims.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Political Sociology
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2016

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