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Elizabeth C. Macknight

Gender and class informed the attitudes of French noblemen toward military training and an army career in the France of the early Third Republic. Honor for the male aristocracy was considered to be “in the blood” and still very closely bound to ancient military virtues of duty, bravery, and sacrifice. Boys raised in noble families were conditioned to value martial honor—and to seek to embody it—well before entering prestigious military academies in adolescence. Ancestral tradition created pressure on noblemen to serve with distinction in the army and, by doing so, to conform to an ideal of military manhood. This strained some noblemen's relationships with male relatives and the cross-generational imperative to uphold the warrior ethos led many to their death on the battlefield.

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Elisabeth Schober

Catherine Lutz, ed., The bases of empire: The Global Struggle against US Military Posts. New York: New York University Press, 2009, 356 pp., ISBN: 0-814-75244-6.

Network of Concerned Anthropologists, The counter-counterinsurgency manual: Or, notes on demilitarizing American society. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2009, 190 pp., ISBN: 0979405750.

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Creative Intelligence and the Cold War

US Military Investments in the Concept of Creativity, 1945–1965

Bregje F. Van Eekelen

This article investigates the Cold War entanglements of the concept of “creativity” with the US military. The field of creativity studies came about after World War II, and the military was a vital site for the production of knowledge about creative thinking. Creativity emerged on the geopolitical radar, in terms of the acquisition of creative thinking skills, attempts to “think the unthinkable” (atomic futures), and the detection of creative citizens. Creative, divergent thinking garnered a renewed urgency with the Sputnik shock, which showcased that conformist practices in knowledge production would not put an American on the moon. Between 1945 and 1965, the concept of creativity—as something to be defined, measured, and stimulated—was framed as a matter of national security and an object of geopolitical concern. This ensuing traffic in knowledge between Cold War academic and military contexts has been constitutive of present-day understandings of creative, undisciplined thought.

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Bodily Transgression

Conflicting Spaces and Gendered Boundaries of Modernity and Islam in Contemporary Turkey

Mahiye Seçil Dağtaş

As Islamic discourses and practices gain increasing public visibility in Turkey and redefine the gendered boundaries of the state, officers' clubs have become the ideal national 'public sphere' of the military and therefore the site in which female citizens' bodies are displayed as the secular markers of Turkey's modernity. Focusing on an anecdote from ethnographic research on wedding ceremonies held in military officers' clubs in Istanbul, this article explores how the competing discourses on modernity and secularism are manifested and contested concretely in specific gendered, corporeal, emotional and spatial practices in contemporary Turkey.

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Global privatized power

Heritage politics and private military contractors in Iraq

Maria Theresia Starzmann

The practice of archaeologists and other heritage specialists to embed with the US military in Iraq has received critical attention from anthropologists. Scholars have highlighted the dire consequences of such a partnership for cultural heritage protection by invoking the imperialist dimension of archaeological knowledge production. While critical of state power and increasingly of militarized para-state actors like the self-proclaimed Islamic State, these accounts typically eclipse other forms of collaboration with non-state organizations, such as private military and security companies (PMSCs). Focusing on the central role of private contractors in the context of heritage missions in Iraq since 2003, I demonstrate that the war economy's exploitative regime in regions marked by violent conflict is intensified by the growth of the military-industrial complex on a global scale. Drawing on data from interviews conducted with archaeologists working in the Middle East, it becomes clear how archaeology and heritage work prop up the coloniality of power by tying cultural to economic forms of control.

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Military Violence in Its Own Right

The Microsocial Foundations of Physical Military Violence in Noncombat Situations

Nir Gazit and Eyal Ben-Ari

In this article, we use the case of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories to offer a microsociological analysis of military violence in noncombat situations. Utilizing the insights of Randall Collins, we suggest that in order understand these encounters, the emotional dimensions of violent behaviors must be linked to the interactional dynamics that trigger the transformation of these emotions into violent actions. We review the emotional configurations that characterize military occupations and discuss a range of violent behaviors initiated by these emotions. Finally, our analysis goes beyond the microsociological level to complement Collins’s model by showing the trans-situational implications of our analysis. We focus on the emergence of violence leaders (the “violent few”), the importance of actual and real audiences, and the development of a violent military habitus.

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Avoidance of Military Service in Israel

Exploring the Role of Discourse

Oren Livio

This study examines the use of the derogatory term mishtamtim (literally, 'shirkers') for Israeli citizens who do not serve in the military, as employed in a variety of widely circulating cultural texts and in several focus group discussions. I suggest that in addition to revealing and reflecting Israeli society's dominant views and opinions on military service and its relation to civil society, the inherent ambiguity of the mishtamtim label enables interlocutors to construct different notions of the Israeli collective, which are then translated into different patterns of inclusion and exclusion, hierarchies of citizenship, and disciplinary meas ures. In addition, the discursive construction of non-service as avoidance of participation in a symbolic, non-violent, civilianized, and benevolent contribution to the collective conceals the military's own tendency to discharge conscripts, as well as its inherently violent nature and the role that violence plays in providing the glue that keeps society together.

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How to Scale Factional Divisions in Conflict Situations

Finding Perpetrators and Switchboard Operators in Post-Authoritarian Argentina

Antonius C.G.M. Robben

In conducting fieldwork among perpetrators of state violence, it is a major methodological problem to gain access to competing factions within the research population. Ethnographers often succeed in finding access to at least one faction but this successful rapport might then immediately close off other factions that mistrust the ethnographer’s politics, intentions, or alleged sympathies. The ethnographic challenge is to find intermediaries or switchboard operators, as they are called in this article, who have established informal channels of communication between hostile factions. Switchboard operators have the following characteristics: discretion, neutrality, lack of formal power, disinterestedness, trustworthiness, and they act as a conduit of communication. This article describes how switchboard operators were located in Argentina, and how they played a crucial role in my fieldwork among a broad spectrum of military perpetrators who had terrorized the Argentine people between 1976 and 1983 with enforced disappearances and state repression.

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Anat Stern

This article examines Jewish civilian criminality during the 1948 War and the way it was handled by military forces. It demonstrates the dilemma the Haganah forces were confronted with in dealing with civilian criminality in the absence of a functioning civil court system, and the various measures taken against civilian profiteering and looting. In July 1948, the practice of trying civilians in military courts was terminated due to an appeal to the Israeli High Court of Justice by one of the looters. This article examines these issues, thus allowing a different periodization of the 1948 War, based on a legal rather than on a military perspective.

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the Sociology of Military Knowledge in the IDF

From 'Forging' to 'Deciphering'

Zeev Lerer and Sarit Amram-Katz

This article discusses the links between military knowledge production and the cultural representations of war based on the Israeli experience during the past two decades. It argues that the locus of military knowledge production has moved from what can be described as 'forging knowledge' to 'deciphering knowledge'. This transition is linked to a crisis in the classic representation of war, which is based on the congruence between three binary signifiers: enemy, arena, and violence. The article asserts that the blurring of these three signifiers has created a Bourdieuian field of military knowledge production in which symbolic capital is obtained from the production of knowledge that deciphers the new uncertainty. The article follows the relations between the binaries and the types of knowledge that have been imported and translated in the IDF with regard to four major operational settings: the Oslo redeployment, the Second Intifada, the disengagement from Gaza, and the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War.