Training emotions – military service, exceptionalism and loyalty

Noack-Lundberg, Kyja and Connor, James M. (2014) Training emotions – military service, exceptionalism and loyalty. In: TASA Conference 2014: Challenging Identities, Institutions and Communities, Refereed Proceedings, 24-27 November 2014, Adelaide, Australia.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


The Australian military has been beset by conduct scandals, including bastardisation and sexual abuse cases, resulting in an unprecedented series of reviews and attempts to change the culture. We argue that scandals are not behaviours arising in contradiction to military norms, as often claimed by military institutions, but rather are engendered by training that inculcates obedience and loyalty to one’s mates and the institution as key military virtues. This obedience and loyalty can override other ethical concerns, both at home and during deployment. In this paper, we draw on the sociology of emotions literature in order to conceptualise loyalty as an emotion. Qualitative interviews were undertaken with twenty-four retired servicemen. The data from these interviews helps to illustrate how the emotional process of cohesion and bonding takes place in the military through training, proximity and exposure to risk, and through ideals of the military as exceptional. We add to the military sociology literature by explicitly exploring the emotionality of military bonding.

Keywords:military loyalty, emotions, small unit cohesion, malfeasance
Subjects:L Social studies > L252 War & Peace studies
L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:41958
Deposited On:07 Sep 2020 09:18

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