14 Dec

Article on the German Bundeswehr’s social media activities published in Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen

I am happy to announce that my article on the German Bundeswehr’s activities on social media (“Soziale Medien und die Legitimitätspolitik der Bundeswehr”) has been published in the Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen.

The article discusses the social media activities of the Bundeswehr, the German Armed Forces, which so far have received only limited attention in the academic literature. The Bundeswehr has an active presence on social media sites, such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, and it uses it both to inform the public and for recruitment purposes. The article argues that scholars should pay more attention to social media as a significant site where struggles over how to interpret reality play out. To that end, it provides a brief summary of research on social media in Critical Military Studies. Following that, the article provides an overview of the Bundeswehr’s activities on social media and illustrates how the specific way the Bundeswehr presents itself on social media might contribute not just to its legitimacy as a governmental institution but also to the legitimacy of its activities, including military violence.

Keywords: social media, Bundeswehr, military, armed forces, militarization

doi: 10.5771/0946-7165-2021-2-152

A pre-print is available here.

10 Aug

Article “Militarizing antimilitarism?” published open access in IFJP

My co-authored (w/ David Shim, University of Groningen) article “Militarizing antimilitarism? Exploring the gendered representation of military service in German recruitment videos on social media” has been published online in the International Feminist Journal of Politics. The article analyzes the gendered representation of military service in the German YouTube series Die Rekruten (DR) (The Recruits), a popular web series produced on behalf of the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) for recruitment purposes, which accompanies 12 navy recruits during their basic training. The article is situated within research on masculinity and the military, in particular military recruitment. It supplements current scholarship by studying a previously neglected case that is of particular interest given Germany’s antimilitarist culture, which should make military recruitment and military public relations more difficult. The article asks how military service is represented in DR, what its discursive effects are, and what role (if any) masculinity plays in this process. We find support for recent feminist research on military masculinities (including in military recruitment) that emphasizes ambiguity and contradiction. What distinguishes the construction of military masculinity in DR from, for example, recruitment advertisements in the United States or the United Kingdom is its markedly civil character. This not only broadens the military’s appeal for a more diverse audience but also increases the legitimacy of the military and its activities. It does so by concealing the violence that has for the past two decades also been a very real part of what the Bundeswehr does.

DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2021.1935289 (open access)

04 Jun

Article ““Militarizing Antimilitarism” accepted for publication

My newest co-authored article (with David Shim, University of Groningen) “Militarizing Antimilitarism? Exploring the Gendered Representation of Military Service in German Recruitment Videos on Social Media” has been accepted for publication in the International Feminist Journal of Politics.

Abstract: This article analyzes the gendered representation of military service in the German YouTube series Die Rekruten (DR), a popular web series produced on behalf of the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) for recruitment  purposes, which accompanies 12 navy recruits during their basic training. The article is situated within research on masculinity and the military, in particular military recruitment. It supplements current scholarship by studying a previously neglected case that is of particular interest given Germany’s antimilitarist culture, which should make military recruitment and military public relations more difficult. The article asks how military service is represented in DR, what its discursive effects are, and what role (if any) masculinity plays in this process. We find support for recent feminist research on military masculinities (including in military recruitment) that emphasizes ambiguity and contradiction. What distinguishes the construction of military masculinity in DR from, for example, recruitment advertisements in the United States or the United Kingdom is its markedly civil character. This not only broadens the military’s appeal for a more diverse audience but also increases the legitimacy of the military and its activities. It does so by concealing the violence that has for the past two decades also been a very real part of what the Bundeswehr does.

Kewyords: gender, social media, German foreign policy, YouTube, military recruitment, militarization, military masculinity, hegemonic masculinity, antimilitarism Bundeswehr

The article will be published open access and will be available soon here: 10.1080/14616742.2021.1935289

29 Sep

Special Issue on “Visualizing violence: aesthetics and ethics in international politics” online

Happy to say that the special issue of Global Discourse “Visualizing Violence aesthetics and ethics in international politics” with my coauthored article (with David Shim) on gender, war and social media is online. Check it out here: http://bit.ly/2wVq7g7

The Special Issue is an output of the DFG-funded network “Visuality and Global Politics”.

Aside from ourselves, the issue features contributions by Brent Steele, Jessica Auchter, Axel Heck, Frank Möller, Anna Geis & Gabi Schlag and Juha Vuori, as well asreplies by Rune Saugmann, Charlotte Heath-Kelly, Alexander Spencer, Debbie Lisle, Michelle Bentley, Kyle Grayson and Laura Shepherd. Great lineup!