Men Making Peace in the Name of Just War
All-male conscription has been constitutional in Finland since its national independence in 1917. Today, almost 100 years later, we see how in practice this has meant that defense and military matters are masculine concerns. Every male Finnish citizen is liable for military service starting from the beginning of the year in which he turns 18 years old until the end of the year in which he turns 60. The institutionalized male ‘duty to protect’ has not only been a way to secure manpower for the national defense, but part of a norm system forming Finnish national identity. Normative politics of military masculinity has thus been at the center of nation building (of similar politics in South Africa, see Conway 2008). What is interesting is that the deep belief in the solidity of the conscription system has further institutionalized male peacekeeping agency in international missions. The masculine ‘war heroism’ or rather, honorable defense, has been practiced both at home and abroad. On the international scene the male national defender is carrying a glorious name of peacekeeper. However, this hardly entails just ‘keeping’ peace, but being involved in active peace building, if not peaceenforcement, in warlike environments, such as Afghanistan.