International Handbooks on Gender series
Edited by Simona Sharoni, Julia Welland, Linda Steiner and Jennifer Pedersen
Chapter 5: Not all soldiers: hegemonic masculinity and the problem of soldiers’ agency in an age of technological intervention
New technologies are likely to upend the hegemonic masculinist notion of the ‘heroic warrior’, as physiological and cognitive enhancements to the warfighter will eliminate the soldier’s ability to display agency and autonomy. Here we consider three new types of soldiers: the Enhanced Soldier, the Hybrid Soldier and the Drugged Soldier. In all three newly emerging types, the warfighter has his or her experience of war mediated through technologies which affect how he or she participates in war, thinks about war and deals morally and ethically with its aftermath. In addition, practices such as ‘just in time’ training of troops and an emphasis on the fungibility of soldiers as inputs in a time of military austerity create a new powerlessness for all warfighters, ultimately calling into question the privileges thought to accrue with professional service in a first-world military and making soldiers everywhere look more alike than different.
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