Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Jason J. Campbell

Second Advisor

Robin Cooper

Third Advisor

Dustin B. Berna

Abstract

Post-modern feminist security studies explore how our discourse about gender and war affects the construction of security as a concept. Military narratives valorizing the masculine over the feminine have long marginalized women warriors. In recent years, images of the torture and abuse of detainees have appropriated the representation of women interrogators during the Global War on Terrorism in particular. This research applied interpretative phenomenological analysis to the narratives of women interrogators in order to challenge the silence concerning their lived experiences by addressing how women interrogators understand their experiences both as woman and as interrogators, and how they negotiated socially constructed contradictions between these identities. Based on an analysis of semi-structured interviews with eight participants, the findings produced seven, interrelated themes. First, the findings explored the integration of gender with other markers of identity. Next, the findings demonstrated women interrogators recognize gender as a context-dependent role negotiated within the military institution through the development and demonstration of technical prowess. Then, the findings described interrogation as a complex adaptive system in which women interrogators harnessed to achieve their goals. Finally, the findings determined that the intersection of women interrogators’ identities and their interactions in the context of interrogation operations generated the perception of women interrogators as non-threatening. Women interrogators learned to exploit the meaning of this emergent phenomenon through introspection and the development of self-awareness.

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