Looking Out from the Tent

Internal Social Research at the IDF

in Israel Studies Review
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In this article we investigate the unique position of intra-military social research units in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). These units, associated with the IDF's Behavioral Sciences Department, have conducted social research on a vast range of topics for more than five decades. By analyzing developments in the studies on reserve service over the years, we have identified three phases of research. Each phase reflects changes in research questions, theoretical concepts, and definitions of issues to be explored. According to our analysis, researches conducted during the first two phases have similar characteristics and derive from the same theoretical discipline and research paradigm. It is mainly during the third phase that theoretical and paradigmatic changes are evident. The researches carried out in this most recent phase are rooted in critical episte- mology, which enables us to discuss the implications of critical intra-social research within the military and in comparison to the academic world.

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