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Thinking Allowed - Women in combat

Updated Tuesday, 2nd April 2013

The focus of this week's Thinking Allowed is women in combat

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This special programme explores the history of the female soldier and the implications of women's increasing involvement on the 'frontline'. How central is war to cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity? Is there something stubbornly masculine at the centre of the dominant, military ethos with its emphasis on courage, honour and valour?

Or are these questions becoming redundant as the nature of war itself changes, so that an emphasis on the winning of' hearts and minds' in the Afghanistan context and elsewhere, could be said to signify a feminisation of war? And is the growth in technology assisted warfare actually sidelining the 'human' altogether, regardless of gender.

Laurie Taylor talks to Anthony King, Professor in Sociology at the University of Exeter; Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Joanna Bourke, Professor of History at Birkbeck College. 

Thinking Allowed is on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesdays at 4.00pm and repeated on Monday mornings at 12.15am. Full transmission details, and listen again links, can be found on





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