Seminarium BEYOND WARRIOR MASCULINITY. ‘GENDER TROUBLE’ IN THE CONTEMPORARY POLISH PARAMILITARY MOVEMENT: 24.04.2019

Please join us at the meeting of the Gender and Sexuality in Polish sciences and social practice. Our guest will be WERONIKA GRZEBALSKA, PhD candidate at GSSR, Polish Academy of Sciences. Weronika will present a paper titled:

WARRIOR MASCULINITY. ‘GENDER TROUBLE’ IN THE CONTEMPORARY POLISH PARAMILITARY MOVEMENT.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 24th, at 3pm, at Pałac Staszica, room 154.
https://www.facebook.com/events/390197365153139/?active_tab=about

The seminar is open to public.

ABSTRACT: After the end of the Cold War, a gradual process of societal demilitarization occurred throughout Europe, leading to the rise of civilian states and post-military societies. In post-1989 Poland, paramilitary civil society emerged as an alternative form of society-military relations, aiming to bridge the growing gap between the military realm and society. In contemporary Polish paramilitary organizing, women have been a constant and visible presence, constituting even up to sixty percent of local organizations. With no institutional limitations to their involvement and no gender-specific training schemes, the paramilitary sector appears to be “in line with modern femininity”, as PR documents of Territorial Defense Forces profess. Considering dominant feminist theorizing on militarism, these developments may raise theoretical discomfort. After all, how can we make sense of women’s enchantment with the paramilitary tradition within the normative frameworks that paint the latter as a masculine project that is ambiguous, if not counterproductive, to women’s rights? Drawing from field work conducted with the paramilitary movement, the talk will reflect on the role gender plays in it. As it will argue, the Polish paramilitary project presents a case for the reconsidering of dominant conceptualizations within the field of gender and militarism studies. In order to move beyond ‘confirmation bias’ (Blee 2018) stalemating gender research on militarism, the talk proposes a methodological shift towards ‘feminist curiosity’ (Enloe 2004) about the gendered complexities of (para)military projects.

Suggested readings:
Cynthia Enloe (2000) “The surprised feminist”, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 25, No. 4 (Summer, 2000): 1023-1026.
Kathleen M. Blee (2018) “Next steps for Scholarship on Gender and the Far-Right”, C-Rex Working Paper, https://www.sv.uio.no/c-rex/english/news-and-events/news/2018/blee-next-steps.html
Weronika Grzebalska (2017) The Weak State and Its Soldiers, Res Publica Nowa No. 3/2017, https://publica.pl/teksty/grzebalska-the-weak-state-and-its-soldiers-62648.html
Weronika Grzebalska (2018) „Kobiety i mit męskiego militaryzmu”, in: Magda Lipska, ed., Niepodległe. Kobiety a dyskurs narodowy, Warszawa: Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej, p. 86-101.

Weronika Grzebalska is a sociologist and President of the Polish Gender Studies Association. Her work focuses on militarism, national security and right-wing politics in Central Europe. Her PhD project, which she is completing at the Graduate School for Social Research, explores the recent processes of societal militarization in Poland against the background of the broader crisis of the (neo)liberal project. She is the author of “Płeć powstania warszawskiego” (IBL PAN 2013). Her work appeared in, among others, Gendered Wars, Gendered Memories (Routledge 2016), Gender: War (Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks 2017), Women’s Studies International Forum, Baltic Worlds and Pamięć i Sprawiedliwość. She was a fellow at the Trajectories of Change Program of the ZEIT-Stiftung, at the Polanyi Centre at iASK (Hungary), and a Kościuszko Foundation fellow at Clark University (USA).

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