Women in the Men's House: Negotiating POWER in Military Settings
This approach is particularly appropriate for analysing the researcher-researched relationship when the first is a woman doing research in a men’s house. On the one side, the research situation is often considered a one-way hierarchical process where power is exerted by only the researcher. On the other side, as a woman in a (quasi) all-male environment based on hierarchical order, also in terms of gender, the researcher can find herself in a subaltern position with relevant consequences in structuring the researcher-researched relationship.
Our field research experience in the Military, retrospectively examined in the paper , well clarifies how femininity represents the “otherness”, the “excluded” and sometimes the “guest”. The consequences are not done once and for all but they result from the interaction among subjects, with their multiple distinctive feature (role, status, rank, sex, age etc.).
Our analysis shows that the late transition to a mixed gender regime in the Italian military has not yet challenged the consolidated male hegemony; hence, gender played a crucial role in how research participants located, perceived and positioned us. Nevertheless, we were ‘inscribed in a multifaceted power relation’, where domination and subordination was in play from both sides and gender incongruence represented both a limiting factor and an asset.