Friday, July 14, 2006

Terrorism and Traditional Masculinity: U.K. Researchers Make a Connection

In the July 9th edition of Scotland’s Sunday Herald a paper is detailed that was recently presented to the British Society of Criminology. It states that to understand the motivation of the London 7/7 suicide bombers we “need to consider their experience as young men as much as their adherence to Islam.”  That is, maybe we should be concerned with the fundamentalism that is traditional manhood rather than condemning the religious beliefs of Islam.  As the paper highlights, men are trained to believe that the weight of the world is on their shoulders alone and that individual acts of violence can ease this pressure.  Fan these flames with an imperialist war in Iraq, an occupation of Palestine and general incendiary rhetoric and you’re bound to get something explosive.  Not that fundamentalist Islam is the only enterprise using male socialization as a tool for its expansion.  Recent reports of U.S. soldiers committing atrocities in Iraq only add to the examples of the first world war and Vietnam that the British criminology report highlights when stating -  “You need to make young men more afraid of being called a coward than they are of dying. Otherwise, how do you get thousands of young men to walk into machine-gun fire?”

Patrick Lincoln Share


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  2. I think it’s disgusting that anyone would connect the acts of terrorism to masculinity. Men who commit acts of terror are not fueled by a sense of masculinity but rather pride. Masculinity should be celebrated. This kind of ignorance fuels terrorism and other acts of violence.

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  5. Anonymous1:19 PM

    this is a great article, i am writing about it in english class, about how they have gender issues as well.