Military, Masculinity and Mediated Representations: (Con)fusing the Real and the Reel

Godfrey, Richard (2009). Military, Masculinity and Mediated Representations: (Con)fusing the Real and the Reel. Culture and Organization, 15(2) pp. 203–220.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14759550902925369

Abstract

In this paper I argue that it is time to rethink the military within Management and Organization Theory. The starting point for this discussion is a juxtaposition of the (lack of) study of the military within Management and Organization Theory compared with the recent (and sustained) interest in depicting war, the military and the military subject within popular culture. I argue that the military is a gendered and gendering organization that has wider discursive effects on the lived experience of masculinity. Having laid down these conceptual claims, I then argue for the value of film, and popular culture more broadly, as an important source of ‘knowledge’ about organizational life. To elaborate this claim, I conduct a close reading of four films that represent post‐Cold War conflicts and identify three recurring themes that tell particular ‘truths’ of the experiences of the contemporary military organizational subject. I conclude that there is something meaningful and relevant in the contemporary popular culture of war that can help address the limitations of the exploration of the military within Management and Organization Theory.

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