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.
The Microsocial Foundations of Physical Military Violence in Noncombat Situations
Nir Gazit and Eyal Ben-Ari
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.
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.
British Military Travelers in the Balkans since 1992
Tens of thousands of British military personnel traveled in former Yugoslavia as peacekeepers between 1992 and 2007. The settlements where British forces established their military presence and supply chain were conceptually far from former Yugoslavia's tourist sites, but military travelers made sense of them by drawing on the commonplaces of previous travel accounts and the lessons of pre-deployment training. British military travelers constructed themselves as often frustrated helpers in Bosnia who struggled with political limitations on their activities but found satisfaction in improving socio-economic relations at the level of the immediate community. For troops, long otiose periods in a stabilizing and startlingly cheap country engendered a touristic sensibility. This article draws on published memoirs and more than fifty new oral history interviews with British peacekeepers and their Bosnian employees to illustrate how British military travelers drew on, perpetuated, and changed the patterns and representation of British travel to the Balkans.
Exploring the Role of Discourse
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.
Military Justice on Trial in Belle Époque France
French military justice constituted an "exceptional jurisdiction": a legal subsystem designed to serve not justice but discipline, and carefully insulated from external political intervention. Reformers had attempted to ameliorate its harshness. But when the Clemenceau government elected to abort further reforms in 1907-09, it strengthened the case of radicals who insisted that military justice was unreformable by the bourgeois state. Radicals sought not to improve the quality of military justice, but to expose its linkage to the class struggle (i.e., to portray the Army and its courts as devourers of proletarian youth). When Émile Rousset alleged that Albert Aernoult, his fellow prisoner in an Algerian compagnie de discipline, had been beaten to death by guards, he created an opportunity for radicals to advance that agenda. The Aernoult-Rousset Affair (1909-12) did breach the political insularity of French military justice. Yet the Affair's political and juridical outcomes were ambiguous.
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.
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.
From a Gendered Organization to Inequality Regimes
This article offers an analytical review of the research on gender and the military in Israel since the 1970s. I argue that the research in this field has undergone a paradigmatic shift that is based on five analytical transformations: (1) a move from a binary gendered conception to intersectionality analysis; (2) a shift from a dichotomous perception of the military organization to an analysis based on 'inequality regime' theory; (3) an emphasis on women as agents of change and resistance; (4) a focus on men and militarized masculinities; and (5) macro-analysis of the significance of women's service in a militaristic society. The article concludes with a discussion of the current political dynamics and conflicts that shape both the construction of the military gender regime and the production of the research in this field.
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.