Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

5-6-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication

Advisor(s)

Dr. Cathryn Molloy

Abstract

Across the globe, all female or mix-gender demining teams are working to eradicate landmines and other explosive remnants of war that threaten their communities. However, more generally, women are often absent from the various elements of security and peacekeeping that exists in post-conflict environments. The purpose of this research is to examine the rhetorical significance of women deminers and to analyze wider implications for female participation in post-conflict operations. Using a phenomenological, feminist, and transformative framework, I collected qualitative data from a range of public texts (or “artifacts”) written about women deminers and from online surveys distributed to women demining teams operating abroad. By analyzing both data sets and through their comparison, several themes emerge including the women deminers’ role as wives and mothers, the deminers’ motivations, and information about their occupational choices. Survey respondents were aware of their depictions in popular media and agreed in most part with the way women deminers are described. In many cases, they enthusiastically support continued coverage of their work. While the artifacts portray the women deminers both accurately and positively, the narratives have remained stagnant over the past twenty years of coverage, and the continued focus on women’s participation as a “novelty” implies the presence of women deminers is new and diverting from operational norms. In addition, repetitive stories should be replaced with new research and articles that better connect women deminers with the wider security and peacebuilding sectors. This research is presented as a thesis reflection and two journal articles intended for publication in both scholarly and field journals.

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