Maria WendtUniversitetslektor, Docent
Maria Wendt är docent och universitetslektor vid Institutionen för ekonomisk historia och internationella relationer. Läs mer om Maria Wendt på den engelska sidan.
I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
Gender, memories and national security
2021. Cecilia Åse, Maria Wendt. International feminist journal of politicsArtikel
Cold War military remnants and experiences have recently been turned into museums and tourist attractions in many European countries. Recognizing such memory making as essentially political, we examine the role of gender and sexuality in the making of a Cold War military heritage. Combining critical feminist and intersectional Cold War research with gender perspectives on military memory, this article contributes to feminist conceptualizations of the relationship between gendered security and the production of memory. By highlighting narratives and spatial, visual, and acoustic arrangements, we investigate state-sponsored museum displays of two national security crises in the Swedish context: the 1952 Soviet downing of a DC-3 airplane and the submarine hunts in the Baltic Sea in the early 1980s. The analysis reveals how gender works to construct a geopolitical outlook, enable emotional identifications, and restore national order. Heterosexuality and hierarchical gender norms emerge as prerequisites for national security. We argue that when visitors are encouraged to feel gendered national security, opportunities to critically reflect upon Cold War histories decrease, promoting the depoliticization of security politics and militarism.
Gendered Frames of Military Heritagization
2021. Maria Wendt. Journal of War & Culture StudiesArtikel
How are opportunities to critically reflect upon military violence and militarization shaped by museal representations of a country's military history? Inspired by a critical heritage perspective and feminist international relations research, this article contributes to the scholarly discussion of the political implications of military memory making. The aim is to analyse how military violence is framed in official heritagization of the Cold War period in Sweden. Based on fieldwork at three military museums, the article discusses how framings of violence affect opportunities to politically and ethically engage with military issues and the use of force. A central question concerns how gender underpins representations of violence at the museums and how this gendering affects politicization. The analysis discloses that military violence is framed as sacred sacrifice, as ‘pure’ technology, as play and as (male) omnipotence. The argument made is that such gendered frames obscure and depoliticize problematic aspects of military violence.
Gendering the military past
2021. Cecilia Åse, Maria Wendt. Cooperation and ConflictArtikel
This article showcases how a feminist perspective provides novel insights into the relations between military heritage/history and national security politics. We argue that analysing how gender and sexualities operate at military heritage sites reveals how these operations dis/encourage particular understandings of security and limit the range of acceptable national protection policies. Two recent initiatives to preserve the military heritage of the Cold War period in Sweden are examined: the Cold War exhibits at Air Force Museum in Linköping and the redevelopment of a formerly sealed off military compound at Bungenäs, where bunkers have been remade into exclusive summer homes. By combining feminist international relations and critical heritage studies, we unpack the material, affective and embodied underpinnings of security produced at military heritage sites. A key conclusion is that the way heritagization incorporates the ‘naturalness’ of the gender binary and heterosexuality makes conceptualizing security without territory, or territory without military protection, inaccessible. The gendering of emotions and architectural and spatial arrangements supports historical narratives that privilege masculine protection and reinforce a taken-for-granted nativist community. A feminist analysis of military heritage highlights how gender and sexualities restrict security imaginaries; that is, understandings of what is conceivable as security.
Kalla kriget som njutning och ideal
2021. Mattias Frihammar (et al.). Dagens arenaArtikel
Känsloläget i försvarsdebatten har höjts, inte minst av Försvarsmakten själv. Frågan är inte längre om utan när kriget kommer. Den nya retoriken åkallar känslor förknippade med kalla kriget. En hotfull historisk period som idag används för att rättfärdiga försvarspolitik och signalera trygghet, skriver fyra forskare som tittat närmare på läget.
Krig, kön och nationellt minnesskapande
2021. Maria Wendt, Cecilia Åse. Feministiska perspektiv på global politik, 237-250Kapitel
Comparing ‘deep’ insider knowledge
2020. Maria Wendt. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 23 (3), 241-254Artikel
One overarching question in scholarly methodological discussions on qualitative comparative approaches concerns how it is possible to compare and generalise deep insider knowledge across (nationally) specific contexts. The aim of this article is to propose a research strategy that both facilitates the comparison and theorisation of such knowledge across nations and limits the risks of reproducing naturalised national ‘truths’. The strategy is developed within a feminist, cross-national, qualitative comparative analysis of how European countries addressed military deaths in connection with the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. The article underlines the importance of collective analytical work and of strategies that allow continuous movement between insider and outsider positions throughout the research process. A number of analytical strategies are presented: collective project design, alternating between analytical closeness and distance, and de-familiarising writing practices.
Gendering military sacrifice
2019. .Bok (red)
What does military sacrifice mean in today’s globalised world? For what ethical principles and beliefs are citizens prepared to die and to sacrifice their loved ones? In present-day security discourses emphasising human rights and an international responsibility to protect, traditional masculinised obligations to die for the homeland and its women and children are challenged and renegotiated. Working from a critical feminist perspective, the authors examine the political and societal justifications for sacrifice in wars motivated by post-national and humanitarian values. This volume provides original empirical research from six European countries, demonstrating how gendered and nationalistic representations saturate contemporary notions of sacrifice and legitimate military violence. A key argument is that a gender perspective is necessary in order to understand, and to oppose, the idea of the honourable military death.
Bringing together a wide range of materials – including public debates, rituals, monuments and artwork – to analyse the justifications for soldiers’ deaths in the Afghanistan war (2001–2014), the analysis challenges methodological nationalism. The authors develop a feminist comparative methodology and engage in cross-country and transdisciplinary analysis. This innovative approach generates new understandings of the ways in which both the idealisation and political contestation of military violence depend on gendered national narratives.
The Politics of War Rituals
2019. Maria Wendt. Gendering Military Sacrifice, 41-67Kapitel
This chapter investigates the new official war rituals that were instigated in order to address European soldiers’ deaths during the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. How did ritualised practices and objects – such as ceremonies, medals, and Veterans’ Days – help to render the war mission meaningful and legitimate? Combining Feminist International Relations theory with scholarly work that addresses the politics of rituals, the chapter analyses which norms and ideals are called upon by these rituals, how hierarchies of values are produced and how national identities and gendered norms are (re)constituted. Using cross-country comparison as a feminist method of denaturalisation, rituals in the UK, Denmark, and Sweden are specifically investigated. The elevation and sacralisation of violence stands out as a common theme, while notions of history, family, and masculinity are expressed in more nationally specific terms. Finally, the chapter discusses how the new war rituals have affected possibilities for political discussions of issues of international war missions in the countries examined.
Teori- och metodanvändning i uppsatser
2021. Maria Wendt.Rapport
Det pedagogiska projekt som redovisas i denna rapport syftar till att få ökade insikter om vad som kan hindra, och vad som kan underlätta för, studenter att överföra tidigare förvärvade kunskaper och förmågor rörande teori och metod till det egna uppsatsskrivandet. Det mer generella problemet handlar om vad som i pedagogisk forskning ofta benämns som ”transfer of learning” och som handlar om förmågan att överföra kunskaper mellan olika kontexter. En övergripande tanke med projektet är att en fördjupad förståelse av överföringsproblem är viktig för att kunna utforma lärandeaktiviteter som möjliggör för studenter att använda tidigare kunskaper. I undersökningen följs en grupp studenter som skriver kandidatuppsats i statsvetenskap. Det empiriska materialet består av intervjuer samt av deltagande observation vid undervisnings- och handledningstillfällen. I analysen identifieras olika typer av överföringsproblem som kan relateras till lärandeinnehållets form, innehåll och begrepp. Utifrån resultaten diskuteras även hur pedagogiska arbetssätt som gynnar kunskapsöverföring kan utvecklas, och som därmed kan förbättra förutsättningarna för studenterna att skriva uppsatser med hög vetenskaplig kvalitet.
2019. Cecilia Åse, Monica Quirico, Maria Wendt. Gendering Military Sacrifice, 145-176Kapitel
This chapter investigates how the relatives of the European soldiers who died in the Afghanistan war (2001–2014), particularly mothers, organised and acted publicly and politically. What is the potential for personal grief to contest political and justificatory war narratives? Feminist scholarship on the relationship between gender, war grief, and politics provides the theoretical framework. Using cross-country comparison as a feminist method of denaturalisation, the chapter discusses gendered grief in the six European countries, with a specific focus on Italy, Sweden and the UK. The comparative analysis identifies general patterns and pinpoints the national differences that had a key influence on the politicisation of war grief. A “politico-emotional war contract” is put forward as a key component both opening up space for and stifling bereaved relatives’ political agency. The chapter discusses how relatives made use of gender representations to challenge established war narratives, but also shows how women’s grief was silenced or appropriated and used to sanction and beautify military violence. An important result concerns how different national contexts condition the possibilities for women’s agency as grieving mothers and wives.
Almedalen som ritual och dragkamp om folket
2018. Maria Wendt. Almedalen, 77-83Kapitel
Gendering the new hero narratives
2018. Cecilia Åse, Maria Wendt. Cooperation and Conflict 53 (1), 23-41Artikel
During the 20th century, wars were fought primarily in the name of protecting the homeland.Making the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ was a national masculine duty and a key feature of military heroism.Today, human rights and international values justify war-making and legitimise military action.In one of these post-national wars, the International Security Assistance Force operation inAfghanistan, more than 700 European soldiers have lost their lives. How have these deaths beenlegitimised, and how has the new security discourse affected notions of masculinised heroism andsacrifice? This article investigates how the dimensions of national/international and masculinity/femininity are negotiated in media narratives of heroism and sacrifice in Denmark and Sweden.Regarding scholarly discussions on the professionalisation, individualisation and domesticationof military heroism, the empirical analysis demonstrates that the Danish/Swedish nationremains posited as the core context for military heroism and sacrifice. In the media narratives,professionalism is represented as an expression of specific national qualities. The media narrativesconflate nation and family and represent military heroes as distinctively masculine and nationalfigures. It is argued that a family trope has become vital in present-day hero narratives. This tropeis disposed towards collective emotions, national loyalty and conservative gender ideals.
När soldater dör tystnar det demokratiska samtalet
2018. Maria Wendt, Cecilia Åse. ArenaArtikel
För Sverige - med livet som insats
2016. Maria Wendt, Cecilia Åse. Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift 118 (3), 359-388Artikel
Death, Democracy and the Swedish Afghanistan War
Five Swedish soldiers lost their lives in Sweden’s military operation in Afghanistan (2002–2014). When citizens are killed in battle, justification of the individual sac-rifice becomes essential. For which values/for whom can the democratic state require its citizens to risk their lives? The purpose of this article is to analyse ideas and representations that support public discourse and constructions of meaning connected to the Swedish losses. The democratic implications of these construc-tions are also discussed. The results show that specific notions of gender and nation are central in the discourse. These notions limit what political positions and atti-tudes that become possible. National historical genealogies, as well as gender ide-als and family norms, frame military operations as “natural” and existential rather than political. Discourse is marked by emotions rather than by debate and delib-eration. The democratic discussion of military casualties and war-making is thereby constrained and critical perspectives become difficult to formulate.
Undermining women's political agency
2016. Maria Wendt. Resources for Feminist Research 34 (3-4), 81-101Artikel
Learning dilemmas in undergraduate student independent essays
2015. Maria Wendt, Cecilia Åse. Studies in Higher Education 40 (5), 838-851Artikel
Essay-writing is generally viewed as the primary learning activity to fosterindependence and analytical thinking. In this article, we show that independentresearch projects do not necessarily lead to critical thinking. University-leveleducation on conducting independent projects can, in several respects, counteractenhanced analytical skills. The purpose of this study is to advance knowledge onthe difficulties students experience in acquiring analytical skills. A group ofundergraduate political science students were interviewed while they attended anindependent research course. They were also asked to record their reflections.The digital diaries provide access to the students’ perceptions regarding theassignment and their struggles as they handle scientific problems. We argue thatthe students are caught up in different learning dilemmas when asked to performindependent academic research. One result is that ambiguous and contradictoryunderstandings of science affect the learning processes and thus affect thestudents’ possibilities for developing analytical thinking.