Commanding men, governing masculinities: Military institutional abuse and organizational reform in the Australian armed forces

Ben Wadham, James Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Since its inception, the Australian armed forces, like all five eye military nations, have been challenged by the phenomenon of violence within the institution. Militaries are institutions of and for violence. The imperative of violence cultivates all service personnel through their initial training and then ongoing roles. This article assesses 4 decades of significant Australian military inquiries around the question of internal institutional violence, including bullying, sexual assault, sexual harassment, hazing, and bastardization. We define this as “military institutional abuse,” which represents a new term for describing this phenomenon that allows for a deeper understanding of institutional gendered and martial culture. The aim is to provide the first overview of military institutional abuse within the Australian military. We argue that military institutional abuse is not an anomaly but endemic to the military institution. In the last decade, there has been a significant activity around gender reforms, changing the alcohol culture and the tribal forms of masculinity associated with it. The question of how the military has responded to this phenomenon illuminates better avenues of cultural reform and responds to the problematic question, “to what extent can this authoritarian institution liberalize”?.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1533-1551
Number of pages19
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Volume30
Issue number5
Early online date28 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Keywords

  • institutional abuse
  • martial masculinities
  • military institutional abuse
  • military sexual assault
  • military sexual trauma

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