Accession Number:

ADA371182

Title:

Leadership by Design: The Gendered Construction of Military (Air Force) Officers

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis

Corporate Author:

AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSONAFB OH

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1999-09-17

Pagination or Media Count:

189.0

Abstract:

Grounding this study is the idea that the military constructs particular norms for its successful leaders and that these norms are officially and unofficially endorsed throughout a military officers career. Specifically, the Air Force discursively constructs its ideal service member as a white, athletic, heterosexual, Christian male. Military texts that emphasize this norm particularly the heterosexual and Christian aspects conflate notions of national protection with levels of masculine prowess. Therefore, by gendered default, such discursive representations diminish women or entirely exclude them from the ultimate leadership scenario war. Narratives from the United States Air Force Academy USAFA in Colorado Springs, Colorado, are the main evidence for this claim. As an institution invested in the fashioning of officers and their careers, USAFAs narratives play a crucial role in understanding how the military constructs gender. Taken alone, these narratives speak primarily to a military culture yet, when they are considered along with representations of military women in relatively contemporary films, the militarys gendered constructions also reach a non-military audience. Beyond USAFA and film contexts this study turns to military figures whose autobiographies peak national interest because they either blatantly support the acceptable norms or flagrantly disrupt them. This study, then, is a cultural reading of a variety of military narratives and how these narratives position women for leadership roles. How well military women navigate and negotiate the inherent tensions in attaining such positions will mean little until the military discursively shapes more than only one image.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Sociology and Law
  • Psychology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE