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Why Men Fight and Women Don’t: Masculinity and Extremist Violence / Elizabeth Pearson

Swansea University Author: Elizabeth, Pearson

Abstract

Last year, the UK saw four violent extremist attacks, three jihadi, and one ‘far-right’.1 ISIS and the far-right are currently two of Britain’s top security priorities. At the same time, policy in this area must take account of UN Security Council Resolution 2242, which in 2015 outlined how efforts...

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Published: 2018
Online Access: https://institute.global/insight/co-existence/why-men-fight-and-women-dont-masculinity-and-extremist-violence
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa44666
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Abstract: Last year, the UK saw four violent extremist attacks, three jihadi, and one ‘far-right’.1 ISIS and the far-right are currently two of Britain’s top security priorities. At the same time, policy in this area must take account of UN Security Council Resolution 2242, which in 2015 outlined how efforts to counter violent extremism should consider gender. To date, the British government has understood gender in the context of radicalisation in two main ways: the inclusion of Muslim women in Prevent, the counter-radicalisation strategy, and more recently, awareness of growing support for ISIS among British women. Following a recent high-profile female jihadi plot there have also been concerns in the media about the possibility of further female violence.2 Policy should not treat gender simply as a synonym for women, however. This paper argues that analysis of masculinity is important to understanding male and female extremism. Current narratives on masculinity, including ‘toxic masculinity’ and a ‘crisis of masculinity’, are key in discussion of extremism. To understand the likelihood of female ISIS violence we must also understand the effects of masculinity in the norms, ideology and culture of groups like ISIS. However, this paper also warns against using ‘masculinity’ as a way of demonising particular groups of men such as young British Muslims. Instead, if policy on violent extremism is to succeed, it must engage with gender in ways that go beyond the simple engagement with ‘women’ as an issue.
Keywords: gender masculinity extremism
College: Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law