The European Union as a masculine military power: European Union security and defence policy in 'Times of Crisis'

Marijn Hoijtink*, Hanna Muehlenhoff

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Against the background of a sense of crisis in the European Union and in international politics, European Union Member States have since 2016 increased their cooperation within the Common Security and Defence Policy, for example, establishing the European Defence Fund. Scholars have long pointed out that the European Union lacks the necessary ‘hard’ military power to influence international politics, subscribing to and constituting an image of the European Union as not masculine enough. We are critical of these accounts and develop a different argument. First, building on insights from feminist security and critical military studies, we argue that the European Union is a military power constituted by multiple masculinities. We consider the European Union to be a masculine military power, not only because it uses and aims to develop military instruments, but also because of how militarism and military masculinities permeate discourses, practices and policies within Common Security and Defence Policy and the European Union more broadly. We argue, second, that the crisis narrative allows the European Union to strengthen Common Security and Defence Policy and exhibit more aggressive military masculinities based on combat, which exist alongside entrepreneurial and protector masculinities. These developments do not indicate a clear militarisation of Common Security and Defence Policy, but, rather, an advancement and normalisation of militarism and the militarised masculinities associated with it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPolitical Studies Review
Volume18
Issue number3
Early online date1 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020

Funding

The authors would like to thank Natalie Welfens, Anna van der Vleuten, Toni Haastrup, Henri Myrttinen, two anonymous reviewers and the organisers and participants of the GLOBUS workshop on Gender and EU foreign policy at University College Dublin for their helpful comments on previous versions of this paper. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), grant number 016.Veni.195.381 https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8816-3351 Hoijtink Marijn 1 Muehlenhoff Hanna L 2 1 Department of Political Science and Public Administration, VU Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2 Department of European Studies, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Marijn Hoijtink, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, VU Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Email: m.hoijtink@vu.nl 10 2019 1478929919884876 7 10 2019 © The Author(s) 2019 2019 Political Studies Association This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ ) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page ( https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage ). Against the background of a sense of crisis in the European Union and in international politics, European Union Member States have since 2016 increased their cooperation within the Common Security and Defence Policy, for example, establishing the European Defence Fund. Scholars have long pointed out that the European Union lacks the necessary ‘hard’ military power to influence international politics, subscribing to and constituting an image of the European Union as not masculine enough. We are critical of these accounts and develop a different argument. First, building on insights from feminist security and critical military studies, we argue that the European Union is a military power constituted by multiple masculinities. We consider the European Union to be a masculine military power, not only because it uses and aims to develop military instruments, but also because of how militarism and military masculinities permeate discourses, practices and policies within Common Security and Defence Policy and the European Union more broadly. We argue, second, that the crisis narrative allows the European Union to strengthen Common Security and Defence Policy and exhibit more aggressive military masculinities based on combat, which exist alongside entrepreneurial and protector masculinities. These developments do not indicate a clear militarisation of Common Security and Defence Policy, but, rather, an advancement and normalisation of militarism and the militarised masculinities associated with it. critical military studies militarism feminist security studies Europe crisis Common Security and Defence Policy edited-state corrected-proof The authors would like to thank Natalie Welfens, Anna van der Vleuten, Toni Haastrup, Henri Myrttinen, two anonymous reviewers and the organisers and participants of the GLOBUS workshop on Gender and EU foreign policy at University College Dublin for their helpful comments on previous versions of this paper. Funding The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), grant number 016.Veni.195.381 ORCID iD Marijn Hoijtink https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8816-3351

FundersFunder number
Anna van der Vleuten
Dutch Research Council
Henri Myrttinen
Natalie Welfens
Toni Haastrup
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek016

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