Date of Award
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Karen Feste, Ph.D.
Afghanistan, Hegemonic masculinity, President Bush
Hegemonically masculine concepts are frequently employed by decision-makers during times of crisis and war. Language used by leaders is powerful in securing domestic support for US foreign policy decisions, and hegemonic masculinity shapes the ways in which leaders conceive of conflicts and in what ways those conflicts should be addressed. Notions of hegemonic masculinity exert a powerful, structural influence on US Presidential foreign policy decisionmaking.
The attacks of September 11th, 2001 changed United States foreign policy in fundamental ways. This research examines the role of hegemonic masculinity in President George W. Bush's policy speeches, both how hegemonic masculinity may have shaped his language and how that language gave Bush the support he needed for unilateral intervention in Afghanistan.
The research begins from a standpoint feminist perspective, and examines President George W. Bush's language in public speeches and statements released to the public on September 11, 2001 and in the six weeks following the attacks. The research includes a narrative examination of Bush and how he understood international politics with regard to hegemonic masculinity, and a narrative of how Bush employed gendered language when speaking about the US intervention in Afghanistan. The language used by President Bush is examined in detail, regarding his references to power, rescuer, and warrior in his speeches and statements before and after the 9/11 attacks. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were utilized to uncover how these three concepts were employed by President Bush before and after the terrorist attacks.
President Bush relied heavily on conceptions of hegemonic masculinity in his language after September 11, 2001. In particular, he used gendered ideologies and narratives to bolster the case for unilateral intervention in Afghanistan, employing notions of power, rescuer, and warrior. Bush's use of the concepts of rescuer and warrior increased significantly after the terrorist attacks. Bush, in effect, remasculinized the United States through a hypermasculine response. These three concepts, power, rescuer, and warrior, were embraced by many Americans, and support for the US intervention in Afghanistan was overwhelming. Language is powerful, and Bush's use of specific language which referenced hegemonic masculinity was an essential component in his arguments for US military intervention in Afghanistan.
Bellini, Michelle E., ""Wanted: Dead or Alive": Masculinities and US Military Intervention in Afghanistan" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 64.
Received from ProQuest
Michelle E. Bellini