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Thinking about Thinking

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Finding Continuity in US Military Veterans’ Embodied Minds

Anna Zogas

members and the bomb-resistant armoured vehicles that allowed them to survive, with injuries. In this article, I examine how young American military veterans make sense of their combat-related mild TBI and the cognitive impairments they experience after

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Introduction

War Veterans and the Construction of Citizenship Categories

Nikkie Wiegink, Ralph Sprenkels, and Birgitte Refslund Sørensen

War veterans oft en constitute a specific category of citizens as they inspire and bring forward particular claims on recognition and resources of the state. The authors featured in this special section each explore processes of the construction of categories of war veterans in different contemporary contexts. Drawing on ethnographic data, the contributions explore the interactions between (those identified) as war veterans and the state, and the processes concerned with granting value to participation in war. This involves (the denial of) rights and privileges as well as a process of identity construction. Th e construction of war veterans as a specific kind of citizens is a political phenomenon, subject to negotiation and contestation, involving both the external categorizations of war veterans as well as the self-making and identity politics from former fighters “from below.”

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Invisible Veterans

Defeated Militants and Enduring Revolutionary Social Values in Dhufar, Oman

Alice Wilson

Those who have participated in organized political violence often develop distinctive identities as veteran combatants. But what possibilities exist to produce a veteran identity for “invisible” veterans denied public recognition or mention, such as politically repressed defeated insurgents? Everyday socializing during or after political violence can help restore social worlds threatened or destroyed by violence; an examination of “invisible” veteran defeated revolutionaries in Dhufar, Oman, shows how everyday socializing can help reproduce a distinctive veteran identity despite political repression. Ethnographic fieldwork with veteran militants from the defeated revolutionary liberation movement for Dhufar reveals that while veterans (who are a diverse group) no longer publicly reproduce their political and economic revolutionary ideals, some male veterans—through everyday, same-sex socializing—reproduce revolutionary ideals of social, especially tribal and ethnic, egalitarianism. These practices mark a distinctive veteran identity and indicate an “afterlife” of lasting social legacies of defeated revolution.

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Liberation Autochthony

Namibian Veteran Politics and African Citizenship Claims

Lalli Metsola

Th is article examines Namibian ex-combatant and veteran politics in the context of African claims and struggles over citizenship. Namibian veteran politics has unfolded as long-term negotiation between claimants and political authorities over recognition, realization of citizenship, and legitimacy. This process has operated through repeated claims and responses, material techniques such as employment and compensation, and changing delimitations of the categories of ex-combatant and veteran. Compared with citizenship struggles elsewhere in Africa, particularly the much-discussed surge of autochthony and ethnonationalism, this article discusses how the institutional environment and the particular histories of those involved have influenced modes of claim-making and logics of inclusion and exclusion. It finds that the citizenship politics of Namibian veterans are not based on explicit “cultural” markers of difference but still do construct significant differentiation through a scale of patriotism based on precedence in “liberation.”

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To Be or Not to Be a Hero

Recognition and Citizenship among Disabled Veterans of the Sri Lankan Army

Matti Weisdorf and Birgitte Refslund Sørensen

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in and around a so-called War Hero Village (Ranavirugama) in northwestern Sri Lanka, this article traces the social (un)becomings of Sri Lankan Army veterans injured during the civil war with the Tamil liberation front. It argues that such veterans have long been able to draw on a materially rewarding narrative of sacrifice and carnal capital—epitomized in the honorific ranaviru (war hero)—in order to produce a particular kind of veteran citizenship, let alone subjectivity, and thus to pursue socially meaningful post-injury existences. In the eyes of the veterans themselves, however, this celebratory narrative is eroding and a “collective narrative” characterized by a kind of social forgetting of the injured veteran is emerging. Material benefits notwithstanding, this narrative contestation entails a “struggle for recognition” that threatens to leave them not only disabled but also with no one to be, or become.

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After “A Youth on Fire“

The Woman Veteran in Iulia Drunina's Postwar Poetry

Adrienne M. Harris

The article uses Soviet poet Iuliia Drunina's deeply personal and o en autobiographical poetry as a lens through which to view the woman veteran's experience, especially during the time of the state-promoted cult of World War II and the erosion of the cult during perestroika. Gender and World War II remain consistent themes in Drunina's poetry, but in her oeuvre, one finds an evolution in how the poet-veteran relates to the war. From 1942 on, Drunina consciously assumed the role of the voice for women soldiers, but as the war receded into the past and the number of veterans dwindled, Drunina began to write more frequently on behalf of veterans of both sexes. This article details numerous war and gender-related themes: gendered otherness during the war, demobilization, stereotypes of women soldiers, the sacred nature of the war, the duty to remember, front-line friendship, and the persistence of the war in veterans' lives.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Awkward

The Making of War Veterans in Postindependence Mozambique

Nikkie Wiegink

Th is article traces the emergence of three categories of war veterans in postindependence Mozambique: former fighters of the liberation war against the Portuguese colonial administration, the former soldiers of the Mozambican Armed Forces, and former Renamo combatants who both fought in the postindependence war. The article follows the emergence, negotiation, contestation, and transformations of these categories through memory politics, bureaucratic practices of inclusion and exclusion, and veterans’ collective political practices “from below.” By showing how some war veterans are come to be regarded as “worthy” of privileged state resources and others as enemies of the state, while again others are in an in-between position, the article shows how war veterans come to occupy specific citizenship positions and that these positions are contingent and changeable over time.

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“Such a Poor Finish”

Illegitimacy, Murder, and War Veterans in England, 1918-1923

Ginger S. Frost

cases demonstrate the difficulties of marriage in the 1920s, exacerbated by adultery or postponed weddings and estrangements. Although my database has eight cases of soldiers killing illegitimate children, these are the only two veterans of World War I

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The Debts of War

Bifurcated Veterans' Mobilization and Political Order in Post-settlement El Salvador

Ralph Sprenkels

This article examines mobilization by civil war veterans of the insurgency and the government army. These veterans became a major political force in postwar El Salvador. I demonstrate that the ascendency of the war veterans hinged on the combination of two types of mobilization: “internal” mobilization for partisan leverage, and public mobilization to place claims on the state. By this bifurcated mobilization, veterans from both sides of the war pursued clientelist benefits and postwar political influence. Salvadoran veterans’ struggles for recognition revolve around attempts to transform what the veterans perceive as the “debts of war” into postwar political order. The case of El Salvador highlights the versatility and resilience of veterans’ struggles in post- settlement contexts in which contention shifted from military confrontation to electoral competition.

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Unbecoming Veteranship

Convicted Military Officers in Post-authoritarian Argentina

Eva van Roekel and Valentina Salvi

In post-authoritarian Argentina, veterans who participated in the brutal counterinsurgency of the last dictatorship (1976–1983) inhabit an extremely inconsistent citizenship, alternatively violating and respecting legal rights and entitlements. This article looks at how alternating transitional justice practices and the ever-changing moral discourses about warfare and accountability create highly unstable access to rights, resources, and entitlements for these veterans in Argentina. Th e recent shift toward retribution for crimes against humanity in Argentina has legally consolidated their moral downfall. From being untouchable and exemplary officers until the early 1980s, the now convicted military officers have been demoted twice by the state and the military institution. Based on long-term fieldwork with the convicted officers and their kin, this article traces the contingent relation between the moral and legal practices that underlie this double downfall that constitutes a fluctuating process of un/becoming veteranship for these veterans. Their veteranship, for that matter, depends on highly conflictive and transformative sociopolitical processes that speak to broader moral dispositions surrounding legal rights, entitlements, and worthiness for veterans.