Masculinities, militarisation and the End Conscription Campaign

War resistance in apartheid South Africa

This book explores the gendered dynamics of apartheid-era South Africa's militarisation. It analyses the defiance of compulsory military service by individual white men, and the anti-apartheid activism of white men and women in the End Conscription Campaign (ECC), the most significant white anti-apartheid movement of South Africa. Militarized, white masculinity was a dominant model of masculinity that white men were encouraged to perform and white women were encouraged to admire. One of the most consistent features of pre-1994 South African society was progressive militarisation, in terms of both military preparedness and activity and the social conditions necessary for war making. The book then analyses the 1984 Citizenship Act as evidence that conscription was a transformative political act for the men who undertook it. The wider peace movement is also analysed as a transgressive sub-cultural space where radical political subjectivities could be formulated. The ECC's use of art, music and satire is assessed as a means to critique the militarisation of South African society. The role of women in the ECC, the feminist activism and the ways in which constructs of white femininity were addressed are also analysed. The book also explores the interconnections between militarisation, sexuality, race, homophobia and political authoritarianism. Finally, it conceptualises the state as premising its response to objectors on a need to assert and reinforce the gendered binaries of militarisation.

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