Gendered Leadership and Power in the Norwegian Military of Defense? (completed)

It has long been a policy to increase female representation and to ensure that more women enter into military leadership positions. The military is a male-dominated organization that is characterized by hierarchy, discipline and masculine values; it also has a long tradition of transitions rituals and hero worship.

About the project

The aim of this project is to

1) study the cultural and symbolic representations of gender, power and sexuality as expressed in the military’s internal and external campaigns and also in information and material aimed at recruiting more women into military operations, and

2.) to study official and unofficial rites of passage and examine the social function of rites which have a military career context.

The social agents in the military position themselves in the field through their physical strength and one of the objectives of the project is to elucidate what the texts, pictures and film material tell us about image building and bodily dispositions in the Norwegian Military of Defense and how this is manifested within the military leadership.

The research design includes methods such as focus group interviews, critical discourse analysis and classical textual analysis of the hegemonic representations of the legitimate “military body”. Are there representations of women leaders/heroes in the military image building and are the military rites relevant for a women’s chance to make a career in the military? Bourdieu’s concepts of symbolic power and physical capital will be used as a tool for analysis of social integration, creating meaning and status.

Cooperation Partners

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
  • University of Stavanger (UiS)
  • Norwegian Institute of Water Research (NIVA)
  • Haugesund University College (HST)
  • Birckbeck, University of London


This sub-project will be a part of an on-going research project entitled Cultures of Masculinity in the Norwegian Military of Defense, and connected to the Mirror, mirror-project financed by the Norwegian Research Council Program SAMKUL 2013-2016.

Published Oct. 23, 2011 10:14 PM - Last modified June 14, 2019 3:13 PM