The military -industrial complex as a gendered institution: The subjugated knowledge of working -class women
This dissertation considers aspects of the Military-Industrial Complex (M-IC) as a gendered institution. The motivation behind this research was to find out what working-class women know about waging war, where they get their knowledge, and how they respond and contribute to the process from their social position. A qualitative methodology was used in order to hear directly, individually as well as collectively, from working-class women in order to begin the process of understanding their perceptions, assumptions and concerns regarding how the U.S. wages war. In light of their extremely pressured time schedules, the participants engaged in computer-mediated communication (CMC). Their responses to material presented to them on, (1) violence against women in war, (2) weapons systems, (3) the economics of war and (4) women's resistance to war, via a website designed by the researcher, were collected within an asynchronous (non-real-time) focus group. There were many restrictions on the women participants: an overwhelming workload at inadequate wages plus limits on knowledge from living with fear, secrecy and myth surrounding warfare. Yet, even as they lived in a reality fed by male-dominated discourse, they were able to see alternative endings to male "victories". They offered clear perceptions as well as remarkable intuitions and tactic knowledge on the central topics of the study that differed substantially from official male reasoning. The women understood what male leadership of the M-IC missed. National debates must take place before war is waged. The social class that is sent to the front line needs to participate fully in the decision to wage war. The thoughts, concerns and questions that were asked by these women in the forum are needed to balance the masculine warlords that have had control over the waging of war for thousands of years.