Do certain masculine identities drive illegitimate forms of violence, or yet enable the permissiveness of killing during armed conflict?
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ICRC Law and Policy
ICRC Humanitarian Law and Policy Blog - Masculinity and Humanitarianism

Masculinity and humanitarianism

Manhood and war are often considered to be intimately connected. But does the equating of masculinity with warrior identities drive illegitimate forms of violence during armed conflict? And how far can male engagement in violence be understood within the context of an honorable masculinity that gives meaning to social expectations and pressures associated with self-sacrifice of men during conflict?

In this new blog post, Graham Parsons, Associate Professor in the Department of English and Philosophy at the United States Military Academy and a Fellow of the Individualisation of War Project at the European University Institute, unpacks connections between manhood and war. In the author’s view, masculinity enables the permissiveness of killing in war and is a primary motivation for atrocities. For these reasons, he urges that humanitarians should make the study of masculinity an urgent priority.


ICRC - International Committee of the Red Cross
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