Militarised and Religious: the Double-bind Confronting Ugandan Men

Date: January 1, 1970
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This paper shows how, in Uganda, political actors play a key role in constructing and deploying particular models of masculinity. The paper draws on two high profile incidences in which the State and the Churches in Uganda promoted stereotypically ‘masculine’ models of behaviour. The first, which received substantial media coverage, involved Members of Parliament from Uganda’s ruling party wearing military uniforms and doing military exercises while on a retreat. The second incident involved outraged protest by the Churches at the launch of a media campaign advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. While the first incident asserted the desirability of a highly militarised masculinity, the second drew attention to ‘unacceptable’ forms of masculinity. The paper also notes that multilateral institutions and their implementing partners are often actively engaged in the construction of particular models of masculinity (often based on assumptions of heterosexuality) and the marginalisation of others. It concludes that while these various political actors are promoting particular models of masculinity for different reasons, the end result is much the same – namely a narrowing down of the range of socially and politically acceptable masculinities. In order to promote sustainable development and peace building, it is important to recognise that there are multiple ways of being masculine.

Publisher: Paper presented at the international symposium on 'Politicising Masculinities', organised by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Dakar, Senegal.
Year of Publication: 2007

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