Flying Buttresses

De Paul Law Review, Vol. 49, p. 693, 2000

35 Pages Posted: 26 May 2010

Date Written: May 26, 2010


The purpose of this essay is to uncover the privilege built upon the social ordering produced by a system that is based on seemingly neutral moral arguments. Moral arguments may work fine if the moral principles apply to a homogeneous community. But, the relationships examined here involve a mix of elements that include the military, race, sex, gender, class, and nationality. These elements come together when troops stationed overseas interact with local populations. In spite of the fact that the relationships appear to involve basic human interaction, both legal and cultural systems of regulation worked in these situations to maintain a certain order to these elements. The underpinning ideals of the regulatory systems were occasionally incompatible. For example, nuclear family values work fine to define social connections until they are muddied by interracial relationships that affront "natural divisions among men" or they tamper with notions of national purity. The resolution of these sorts of contradictions necessitated the imposition of some hierarchy.

Keywords: military, race, sex, gender, class, nationality

Suggested Citation

Ota, Nancy, Flying Buttresses (May 26, 2010). De Paul Law Review, Vol. 49, p. 693, 2000. Available at SSRN:

Nancy Ota (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States

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