The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Matthew Kearns

Project title: Military Masculinities and British Military Recruitment Practices

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

This ESRC funded project will investigate the relationship between military masculinities and recruitment practices in the British Armed Forces. The project is led by Matthew Kearns, and is supervised by Professor Rachel Woodward in Geography and Dr Amanda Chisholm in Politics. 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 pressures. This reform intends to downsize the Regular Forces while increasing recruitment to the Reserve Forces. 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 interest! ed in pa rticipating 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.

I also have a considerable interest in quality assurance in higher education, working as a student reviewer for the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and a student assessor for the Teaching Excellence Framework.


Kearns, M. (forthcoming). Gender, Visuality and Violence: Visual Securitization and the 2001 War in Afghanistan, International Feminist Journal of Politics


  • 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.
  • Exploring Military Masculinities and British Military Recruitment Practices. Gender Research Colloquium, Newcastle University.
  • 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. 


  • POL1032 Introduction to International Politics (seminar tutor)
  • POL 2078: Critical International Politics