Citizenship Rites: Feminist Soldiers and Feminist Antimilitarists

Synopsis

"Ilene Rose Feinman shows us how feminist theorizing grows out of feminist activist engagement and then is tested through direct action and refined. The questions she raises here about the meanings and practices of citizenship and the impacts of soldiering on democratic life are urgent as we move into a new century." --Cynthia Enloe, author of Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives"It is pure polemic. Those already converted will be inspired." - Gerard J. DeGroot,The Journal of American History

"Disputes about who should or should not be permitted to serve in the military have almost always centered on the perceived impact of a given group on military effectiveness. Feinman takes a fresh approach to the subject of women and the military by placing citizenship, rather than war, at the center of her analysis. In a volume that addresses a complicated set of issues with great clarity and respect, Citizenship Rites asks what the relationship is between citizenship and soldiering, and between soldiering and feminism. It makes a unique and valuable contribution to a discussion that has been largely absent from the broader rhetoric over issues of gender, peace, and war." --Melissa S. Herbert, author of Camouflage Isn't Only for Combat: Gender, Sexuality, and Women in the Military.

In the United States, the question of women in the armed services has been continuously and hotly debated. Among feminists, two fundamentally differing views of women in the military have developed. Feminist antimilitarists tell us that militarism and patriarchy have together pressed women into second class citizenship. Meanwhile, feminist soldiers and their advocates regard martial service as women's right and responsibility and the ticket to first class citizenship. Citizenship Ritesinvestigates what is at stake for women in these debates. Exploring the perspectives of both feminist antimilitarists and feminist soldiers, Ilene Feinman situates the current combat controversy within the context of the sea change in United States politics since the 1970s-from ERA debates over drafting women to recent representations of military women such as the filmGI Jane. Drawing on congressional testimony, court cases, feminist and antiracist political discourse, and antimilitarist activism, Feinman addresses our pressing need for an analysis of women's increasing inclusion in the armed forces while providing a provocative investigation of what this changing role means for women and society alike.