Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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“Pulling the Tail of the Cat”: An Exploration of Palestinian Peacebuilders' Conceptualisations of Men and Masculinities in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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posted on 2021-11-12, 12:35 authored by Foster, Alana

To date, men as gendered beings have largely remained absent from the international literature on armed conflict and peacebuilding. In general, the literature omits men‘s gendered experiences as civilians, non-combatants and peacebuilders and instead, men remain confined by stereotypes of violence, soldiering and war-making. In this thesis, I aim to break these silences by producing a qualitative analysis of discourses of men and masculinities within semi-structured interviews conducted with fourteen Palestinian peacebuilders in the West Bank. This analysis explores the impacts of the ongoing occupation and armed conflict on non-combat related Palestinian masculinities, and further, how men and masculinities are thought to interact with local peacebuilding initiatives. Through the use of feminist critical discourse analysis, this study has uncovered a number of key themes relevant to gender and peacebuilding theory and practice. Firstly, it found that the ongoing conflict has resulted in a 'thwarting' of West Bank masculinities in which men are understood as finding it increasingly difficult to live up to social expectations of their traditional roles and identities. Secondly, this study found that men and masculinities have become somewhat estranged from civil society, informal peacebuilding schemes. Based on my findings, these initiatives seem to centre around feminised narratives that emphasise women's peacebuilding capacities, while masculinities and the peacebuilding roles of men are overlooked. Nevertheless, this thesis also presents the notion that men are actively involved in the nonviolent resistance movement within the West Bank, which opens up room for a novel, alternative understanding of 'masculinised' peacebuilding in Palestine. In sum, this study articulates the need to 'take masculinities seriously' in the pursuit of more inclusive and effective peacebuilding and post-conflict development practice.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Mackenzie, Megan