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Title: All in the same boat? : a study of the experience of Royal Air Force wives today
Author: Manson, Karen Anne
ISNI:       0000 0001 3618 425X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis is based on research carried out on RAF bases in the UK. The man part of the formal research (80%) was carried out on a large operational base in the west of England, anonymised here as RAF Blyton; the remaining 20% was carried out on a remote Scottish base, anonymised as RAF Rockall. Additional observational material was collected at a base in the midland area of England, anonymised as RAF Culswick. Studies of military wives and families, although not numerous, do exist, tending towards a broad sweep of the issues affecting families. This research is unique in its focus on the married 'patch' and particularly life in the married quarter, and how wives are shaped and survive in this environment. Also unusual is the emphasis of three key issues, emerging as close to wives' hearts. Rather than concentrating on the job, the focus is on marriage, friendship and community. Differences between the experience of wives of officers and non-commissioned personnel is another feature not present in detail in any other study. The study found that wives foster an ambiguous love/hate relationship with the RAF, and that wives are agents, who despite constraints imposed by military life (and awareness of conflict with prevailing social trends) can make important decisions regarding their contribution to and experience of military life. Due to mobility, managing friendships is found to be vital to wives, in the absence of other channels of support. Sadness caused by the superficiality of acquaintanceship and feelings of rootlessness within a community of mobile individuals is highlighted. Formal and informal social arrangements are identified and as desire to belong to the RAF community in different capacities is reported, due to husbands' intense involvement with the job, and distance from family roots. High participation in events on the base is not always found to correspond to high feelings of integration, and awareness of a high level of surveillance on the married patch is noted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available