The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Matthew Kearns

Postgraduate Research Student


Project title: Military Masculinities and Contemporary Recruitment Practices to the British Armed Forces 

Supervisors:Professor Rachel Woodward (Geography), Dr Amanda Chisholm (Politics)

I am currently an ESRC funded PhD student in the Department of Geography. My project is investigating the relationship between military masculinities and recruitment practices in the British Armed Forces. Feminist scholarship across the social sciences has increasingly focused upon the multiplicity of military masculinities, their variation across space and place, and their intersection with other markers of identity such as race and class. However, the insights of such scholarship have not yet been applied to the practices and processes of military recruitment.

This project will explore how masculinities are performed within British military recruitment practices, the processes by which this might be changing and the broader implications of this for gender relations across the armed forces. This is a pertinent question, as the Armed Forces is presently under-going substantial structural reform under the Future Force 2020 programme and experiencing considerable recruiting pressure. As such, the way the British military recruits its personnel may be changing, and this could prompt a shift in the relationship between masculinities and recruitment practices.

The project uses two methods. Firstly, analysis will concentrate upon contemporary recruitment materials (both print and digital) and explore the identities they perform through a methodology of discourse analysis. Secondly, interviews will be undertaken with individuals responsible for the development of recruitment campaigns (including civilian marketing campaign managers, military and MoD personnel) and with personnel working directly with potential recruits. As such, I’m very interested in hearing from military and civilian personnel involved in recruitment who might be interested in participating in the research project. Please contact me via email at

  • PGCert Research Methods, Newcastle University.
  • MA International Relations, University of Leeds. Distinction.
  • BA (Hons) Politics, University of Sheffield. First Class.


More broadly, my research speaks to feminist debates concerning military masculinities and their ability to become displaced in changing security contexts. As such, my research interests are situated within the connections between feminist IR, feminist international political economy (IPE) and critical military studies. I also have an interest more broadly with the visual and its relationship to security.

Recent conference presentations include:

  • Neoliberal Governmentality and Military Recruitment: Governing the Working Class Male Body. 11th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Campus de la Ciutadella, Barcelona, Spain. 13 – 16 September 2017.
  • Military Masculinities and British Military Recruitment Practices: Exploring Feminist Possibilities for Change. Sixth Annual International Feminist Journal of Politics Conference, New Delhi, India. 10 - 11 April 2017. 
  • Exploring Military Masculinities and British Military Recruitment Practices. Gender Research Colloquium, Newcastle University, June 2016.
  • Recruiting through Colonial Logics: Military Masculinities and the British Army's Normal Days Campaign. 59th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, San Francisco, California. 4-7th April 2018.
  • Masculinities and British Military Recruitment Practices: Exploring Feminist Possibilities for Being Otherwise. 30 Years of Gendering International Relations: Celebrating the Launchers, Sustainers and Innovators. Newcastle University, 26-27 April 2018.
  • The Geographies of Military Masculinity and the British Army's Normal Days Campaign. Militarization, Militarism and Feminism Workshop. University of Vienna, Austria. 29-30 June 2018. 


I have or am currently teaching on the following modules:

POL 1032: Introduction to International Politics

POL 1046: Order and Disorder:The Shaping of the 21st Century 

POL 2078: Critical International Politics