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Ruth Streicher (Alumna BGSMCS)

Constructing Masculinities: A Gendered Ethnography of the Conflict in Southern Thailand

PhD Research (2009 - 2014):

Constructing Masculinities: A Gendered Ethnography of the Conflict in Southern Thailand

Thailand has undergone several waves of violent uprisings in its southern Malay Muslim provinces, with a renewed insurgency starting in late 2001. What decisively sets this renewed wave of violence apart from earlier insurgencies is that young men constitute the bulk of the perpetrators. Although only little is known about their motives, it is clear by now that attacks are often targeted either at state institutions or at people – quite often Muslims – accused of collaborating with the state. The main puzzle informing this research project is: why young men? How and why do young Malay-Muslim men get involved in groups carrying out violent attacks?

From a gender-theoretical viewpoint, the analytical focus is shifted to issues of power and identity, towards an understanding of the power processes behind the construction of ‘female’ and ‘male’ identities. The research-question is thus transformed into: How are youthful masculinities constructed in the context of conflict in the South of Thailand? And where do violent practices come into play? These questions are considered in relation to gendered conflict dynamics using ethnographic field research methods in one specific Southern Thai community.

 

First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Cilja Harders

Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Schirin Amir-Moazami