Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Militarized Masculinities: The Construction and Incitement of Sex on the United States Foreign Military Base

Jocelyn Lim Chua.

The aura of masculinity that enshrouds the United States foreign military base is one of its chief operational assets. As a historical and socially engineered category, U.S. military masculinity as a hegemonic ideal is both constructed and incited in manners which are ultimately strategic to the war machine and to the interests of the state. The racialized and (hetero)sexual relations of United States military men, examined through the lens of the unofficial promotion of the militarized prostitution of indigenous women within particular historical contexts, are identified as a particularly dense transfer point for the sublimation of geo-political relations of power. The first half of this paper explores the tactical construction of a hegemonic masculinity by the state, one which necessarily demands upkeep and maintenance through the production and policing of social practices, symbols, discourses, ideologies and bodies, processes which are always haunted at the edges by the vulnerability of slippage. The second half recognizes how sex and desire, corralled into the domination and exploitation of military prostitutes, are not only constructed, but incited in service to the nation-state. A delicate balancing act, forged between the conservative institutional face of the military and the unofficial sanctions of militarized prostitution as an organizational tactic on the ground, are discussed as strategic techniques of power.


Jocelyn Lim Chua  (United States)
PhD Student
Cultural and Social Anthropology
Stanford University

  • Masculinities
  • U.S. Military
  • Race
  • Sexuality and Desire

(Virtual Presentation, English)