Man made: nationalism, military service & masculinity in Istanbul & Tel Aviv
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 21:22 authored by Max Dolphin Harwood
Through the methodology of ethnographic film production, this thesis studies the relationship between nationalism, conscription and masculinity in the lives of young men in Istanbul and Tel Aviv. As the creative component of this written dissertation, the film Man Made examines the symbols, culture and institutions of Turkish and Israeli nationalism, specifically focussing on the practise of mandatory military service. The film also analyses how conscription shapes masculine cultural expectations in both states, and how this phenomenon impacts the lives of a handful of young men. By means of filmed biographical ethnography, Man Made explores the vexed relationship between national identity, manhood and conscription in the lives of select male participants in two contrasting cities. The qualitative research in Man Made suggests that in both field sites the relationship between the participants and their military service is cultivated by institutionalised state nationalism, which is detectable in the lives of the participants from their early childhood. In both nations, a consequence of this relationship is a homogeneous cultural mode of masculinity, which is enmeshed with the militarisation of society. This militarized masculinity positions conscription as a personal milestone for men, one of many ethno-nationalist attributes and gendered rites of passage that must be attained if they wish to experience full citizenship rights in their respective nation states. This written dissertation is a companion to the film, further exploring the themes and historical context of military service in Turkey and Israel, the methodological and technical production of the film itself, as well as the ethnographic research conducted in the creation of Man Made. This thesis is atypically structured, eschewing numbered chapters for a scene-by-scene deconstruction of the film. Mirroring the film's serialized structure, four episodes substitute for traditional chapters. Each episode comprises a written response, framed around events that occur within the specific vignette's duration. Alongside conventional footnotes, in text time-coded references guide the reader to specific moments in the film, which are then analysed.