Explanations for Militarism
Sociologists have proposed several reasons for militarism. One is the economy. According to Enrloe (1987: 527), people who see capitalism as the moving force behind the' military's influence "believe that government officials enhance the status, resources, and authority of the military in order to protect the interests of private enterprises at home and overseas." From this perspective, the origin of militarism is found in the boardroom, not the war room. Because government and military funding is also a prime source of support for research in the physical, biological, and social sciences, administrators and faculty in some institutions of higher learning reel the need to support war-related spending to obtain grants for research. In addition, workers come to rely on military spending for jobs; labor unions have supported defense spending because it has provided well-paid, stable employment for union members. A second explanation focuses on the role of the nation and its inclination. toward coercion in response to perceived threats. From this perspective, nations will inevitably use force to ensure compliance within their .society and to protect themselves from outside attacks. A third explanation is based primarily on patriarchy and the relationship between militarism and masculinity.
Across cultures and over time, the military has been a male institution, and the "meanings attached. to masculinity appear to be so firmly linked to compliance with military roles that it is often impossible to disentangle the two" (Enloe, 1987: 531). Symbolic internationalists might view this perspective as the social construction of masculinity. In other words, certain assumptions, teachings, and expectations that serve as the standard for appropriate male behavior-in this case, values of dominance, power, aggression, and violence- are created and re-created. Presumably, such qualities may be learned through gender socialization, including that which is received in military training. Historically, the development of manhood and male superiority has been linked to militarism and combat- the ultimate test of a man's masculinity (Enloe, 1987;Cock, 1994).