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Armed Forces, Soldiers and Civil-Military Relations by Gerhard Kümmel

By Gerhard Kümmel

The contributions to this anthology in honor of the overdue army sociologist J??rgen Kuhlmann specialise in the soldier and his relatives in the direction of the military and in the direction of society. This person - association and person - society nexus is explored from assorted angles through diverse nationwide and foreign contexts. The chapters to this quantity therefore aid the educational in addition to the practitioner and the reader to higher comprehend the dynamics and the serious matters during this soldier - army - society triangle.

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Extra resources for Armed Forces, Soldiers and Civil-Military Relations

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They generate and maintain hierarchy and order, create identity and the sense of togetherness as well as pride in the unit, the battalion, the nation or the multinational alliance. The changed uniforms worn on deployment create cohesion and identity among the troops and demonstrate solidarity to the outside. The uniforms are important symbols of the operational identity of the soldiers. Such practices are also known in Germany within the Bundeswehr: By wearing washed out, partly even worn out field uniforms, the ‘old hands’ set off against those soldiers who have only been doing military service for a short time.

Mostly stress is ‘only’ caused by a high workload or negative news from home, but not by other usual stress factors such as traffic jams, queues at the checkout counter, nerve-wrecking letters from authorities or faulty washing machines. Peacekeepers have to manage other permanent, but often suppressed strains: latent danger of mines and bombing attacks, extreme climate conditions in summer as well as in winter, high rates of dust pollution, multiperson accommodation, lack of privacy, separation from home and the family, monotonous and highly regulated camp life, contact with the same persons over and over again as well as the necessity, day in, day out, to wear 42 uniform/heavy boots and to carry the P8 pistol/the G36 rifle.

In spite of this ambivalence surrounding camaraderie, it does constitute a motivating factor for numerous soldiers on deployment abroad that cannot be overestimated. As other military sociological studies have shown, the bonds of camaraderie within the unit form the central moment in times of crisis and war that helps people endure the tough pre-deployment training, master precarious situations and permanently bear risking one’s own life (Titunik 2000: 238; McCoy 1995: 695). Bundeswehr members both in the Balkans and in Afghanistan underline that they rediscovered a kind of camaraderie during out-of-area-missions that they thought had disappeared long ago.

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