Imagining military, nation and peace: the narratives of the post-2015 women conscripts-volunteers in Lithuania
Armonaityte, Greta (2017) Imagining military, nation and peace: the narratives of the post-2015 women conscripts-volunteers in Lithuania. [Thesis]
Since the reinstatement of 2015 conscription law in Lithuania, a total of 160 women have joined the military as conscripts-volunteers. This thesis is the first attempt to inquire where women in the military in Lithuania position themselves in state processes, how they perceive state-security, war and peace, and identity concerning gender. The recent developments in the military in Lithuania and the current case should be considered in relation to the efforts of NATO and UNSCR 1325 to include women in conflict resolution, peacekeeping, and therefore, military. Eighteen semi-structured interviews were conducted. The collected data has revealed that being able to serve in the military, was seen as empowering by women. State institutions and civilians were identified as carrying responsibility for state security. War was either described as an occurrence of human nature, and thus, an inherent part of human experience, or something caused by political motives and interests, and decided by the leading political parties. Military‟s role in peace was believed to be protecting and sustaining peace, while in other cases they were identified as conditional – only in the time of war, and only for defense. Peace or war effects were not discussed extensively, and were mostly believed to be experienced by men and women differently, because of “inherent” different characteristics. Gender identities mostly have to be negotiated, in order to become a full member. Discrimination or inequality were not discussed on different levels, thus, negative or discouraging comments and attitudes in the military are highly normalized by the women.
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