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Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives First Edition Edition

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520220713
ISBN-10: 0520220714
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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

paper 0-520-22071-4 A wide-ranging look at the global militarization of women's lives, whether they are soldiers or spouses of men serving in countries from Bosnia to Indonesia. Enloe (Government/Clark Univ.; The Morning After, 1993), a feminist who believes the military is a patriarchal entity intent on masculinizing society, often undercuts the point of her argument in scattershot attacks on her targets. And while she has a case to make, her bias shows. She assumes that the military, if not malign, is certainly suspect, and she never considers why wars are fought or whether any wars are just. Rather, she concentrates on describing the patriarchy at work fostering militarized masculine values, as it not only conducts wars but manages peace. She defines militarization as ``a specific sort of transforming process but the list of what can be militarized is virtually endless: toys, jobs, the profession of psychology, fashion, faith, voting, local economies, condoms, and movie starsthe latter because they are co-opted to perform for troops and sustain morale. In her most persuasive chapter, she notes how various militaries have required medical examinations for prostitutes and condoned off-base prostitution or, more notoriously, as the Japanese army did with the ``comfort women, seized women from conquered countries to serve the army's needs. Citing documents and examples from numerous countries, Enloe describes the evolving role of military wives, and the military's handling of rape, which is, she contends, part of its strategy in Bosnia and Serbia. She believes that female soldiers, mothers of soldiers, and nurses, who are used to maintain ``the patriarchal multilayered arrangements of masculinities and femininities,'' too often accept a patriarchal agenda that keeps them powerless and alienated. Enloes graceless writing fuzzes all but her most telling points, and her assertions, though bold, are not always sufficiently discussed or convincingly demonstrated. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Demonstrate[s] with particular sensitivity and insight how core political institutions shape women's identities and interests. . . Beautifully written, in a lively, accessible manner, [MANEUVERS] teach[es] students that it is possible to combine rigorous, hard-hitting analysis with compassion and engagement."--"Women's Review of Books

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 437 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (February 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520220714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520220713
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Cynthia Enloe adds to her series of writings looking at the effects of militarisation on women's lives - from the laundresses, camp followers, comfort women and sex workers to feminist military personnel and those who fight the home front.
Like Jan Jindy Pettman's "Worlding Women - a feminist international politics", Enloe's latest book seeks to look at international relations from a gendered perspective - and succeeds admirably.
The author relies a lot on secondary sources (citing a lot of newspaper stories), but weaves together the strands of militarisation on women's lives in a compelling and readable style. The book is full of fascinating anecdotes that illustrate the broader themes of the multifacted impact of contemporary militarisation (I particularly enjoyed the discussion on why British military officers from all services and US Air Force and Navy officers are allowed to carry umbrellas, but they are fobidden as too girlie for the US Marines and US Army! )
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Burns on March 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dr. Enloe's work is a frenetically paced tour of the seedy gendered underside of militarization throughout the world. While she raises good questions concerning the effects of militarization on women throughout the world, too often her work displays an unfamiliarity with the military facts that she uses to bolster her arguments. These factual inaccuracies and omissions, e.g. overstating the casualties at Gettysburg and in the Vietnam war by a factor of ten or the omission of the fact that the JROTC is completely voluntary, discredit otherwise valuable perspectives on the less-publicized effects of the growth of the national security state.
Secondly, the assumptions that the author makes are based primarily on secondary sources. It is obvious that she has not spent much, if any, time observing first hand the gender dynamics that play themselves out in military units. Instead, Dr. Enloe constantly shifts between levels of analysis in an attempt to prove her points. This theoretical instability makes it difficult for the reader to connect the evidence that is used to support the author's conclusions.
Lastly, in one of her other works, Dr. Enloe asks the question "Where are the women?" In this work, she fails to follow up on her scant observations concerning the differences that exist among, for example, the branches of the US military. Instead, the different services are alternately treated as separate organizational cultures or as a single military monolith depending on the point that she is trying to make. This is the books greatest folly. It is absurd to assume that an organization as large as the US military speaks, acts, and thinks with one mind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book... one of my favorites. Judging by the other comments, it may be somewhat unpopular to take an antiwar stance when there's plenty of lobbying occurring to get women IN the military. However Enloe addresses this point eloquently when she explains that "feminism" can support the military industrial complex when it is used to support such structures as, well, the military itself.
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By P. Riggs on February 17, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great price
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11 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Chapulina R on December 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Cynthia Enloe is the author most quoted by opponants of women in the armed forces, because she presents the real Feminist viewpoint, which is staunchly anti-war and ambivelant toward the military. Enloe's arguments, supported by N.O.W., are coopted by "anti-feminist" foes of servicewomen as proof of their own contention that women have no place in the military. Paradoxically, after quoting Enloe, those same crusaders then lambast a so-called "feminist lobby" for promoting gender integration in combat operations. No doubt they confuse Feminism with some "politically-correct" positions of Congressional military panels, which are, ironically, often ignored or opposed by N.O.W. But Enloe's books go much further than simply stating Feminism's pacifist ideals. In "Maneuvers", she accuses the military of deliberate victimization of women worldwide. She makes a number of good points concerning the cruelties of war toward civilian women, but her antimilitary bias shows and is sometimes rather venomous. She gives no thought whatsoever to the conditions which make warfare an unpleasant reality and the armed forces a necessity. Nor has she any real concern for American military women or their reasons for wanting to serve. By relating selected incidents of harassment or violence against servicewomen, she presents a negative and mostly false impression of the American military's widespread and willful victimization of its female members. Read "Maneuvers" for the Feminist counter of Brian Mitchell's "Flirting With Disaster", but don't expect balance in the views of either author.
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