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Raising an army: the geopolitics of militarizing the lives of working-class boys in an age of austerity

Basham, Victoria M. ORCID: 2016. Raising an army: the geopolitics of militarizing the lives of working-class boys in an age of austerity. International Political Sociology 10 (3) , pp. 258-274. 10.1093/ips/olw013

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This article examines the political and social impact of elevating military values in society in a context of austerity. Centering on discussions around two British government “military ethos” initiatives, I consider the idea that military service instills desirable qualities and values in military personnel, making them well suited to educating and socializing children, to the advantage of both children and society. Arguing that these schemes primarily target boys from disadvantaged backgrounds in an effort to turn them into “productive” members of society, I suggest that military ethos initiatives contribute to not only the “raising” of working-class boys but the raising of a class-based army. Moreover, rather than focusing solely on the implications of the military ethos in the British context, I argue that its underlying assumptions about military socialization as a social good have significant geopolitical effects. Through characterizing the military as a core institution of society and its values as moral and good for children, these initiatives obscure the military’s core violent functions. Thus, by both normalizing violence and militarism in everyday life and targeting boys from disadvantaged backgrounds, “military ethos” initiatives engender the subjectivities that provide the very political, social economic, and indeed practical resources that make war possible.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Uncontrolled Keywords: austerity; militarism; geopolitics of the everyday; military ethos;; gender, race and class
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1749-5679
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 July 2016
Date of Acceptance: 15 May 2016
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2022 15:32

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