2009 volume 27(3) pages 403 – 424

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Loyd J M, 2009, "“War is not healthy for children and other living things”" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27(3) 403 – 424

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“War is not healthy for children and other living things”

Jenna M Loyd

Received 8 December 2007; in revised form 5 September 2008; published online 24 April 2009

Abstract. In opposition to the Vietnam war, the US-based group Another Mother for Peace (AMP) coined the compellingly simple slogan, ‘War is not healthy for children and other living things’. I analyze the changing ways in which these women connected health and war. They transformed the imagined geography of where war is not healthy from the fields of Vietnam to include their own backyards. In this way they reworked Cold War strictures of motherhood and challenged the sturdy fiction that war is about real men protecting vulnerable women and children. Nonetheless, by failing to examine social hierarchies among different groups of mothers and children, they obscured differential vulnerabilities to premature death domestically. Because AMP did not adequately confront the privileging of white domesticity that structured national security discourses, I argue that it unwittingly reproduced the racial – gender common sense for war. I draw upon intersectional analyses to situate discourses of health within the racial – gendered constructions of home and nation. These works allow me both to question the apparent neutrality of ‘health’ and to examine the limitations of not recognizing ‘the home’ as a space of whiteness in US white women’s antiwar activism.

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