Against the background of a sense of crisis in the European Union and in international politics, European Union Member States have since 2016 increased their cooperation within the Common Security and Defence Policy, for example, establishing the European Defence Fund. Scholars have long pointed out that the European Union lacks the necessary ‘hard’ military power to influence international politics, subscribing to and constituting an image of the European Union as not masculine enough. We are critical of these accounts and develop a different argument. First, building on insights from feminist security and critical military studies, we argue that the European Union is a military power constituted by multiple masculinities. We consider the European Union to be a masculine military power, not only because it uses and aims to develop military instruments, but also because of how militarism and military masculinities permeate discourses, practices and policies within Common Security and Defence Policy and the European Union more broadly. We argue, second, that the crisis narrative allows the European Union to strengthen Common Security and Defence Policy and exhibit more aggressive military masculinities based on combat, which exist alongside entrepreneurial and protector masculinities. These developments do not indicate a clear militarisation of Common Security and Defence Policy, but, rather, an advancement and normalisation of militarism and the militarised masculinities associated with it.
Hoijtink, M., & Muehlenhoff, H. L. (2020). The European Union as a Masculine Military Power: European Union Security and Defence Policy in ‘Times of Crisis.’ Political Studies Review, 18(3), 362–377. https://doi.org/10.1177/1478929919884876