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Title: Developing a victimological imagination : an auto/biographical study of British military veterans
Author: McGarry, Spencer Ross
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 5949
Awarding Body: Liverpool Hope University
Current Institution: Liverpool Hope University
Date of Award: 2012
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British soldiers have been fighting and returning from conflict for centuries, however in the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq it has become noticeable that not only are many young men and women experiencing physical, psychological and social hardships both during and after military service, but the conditions under which these difficulties occur have been brought into question. This has been particularly the case in relation to British soldiers being poorly equipped and 'overstretched' during the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, military hospitals closing at a time when they are needed most, in addition to there being an insufficient framework of social support when returning to civilian life. All of this against the backdrop of rising military death tolls, an awareness of British military veterans populating the prison system and probation services, a defence spending review cutting jobs and services from the British military, and claims that the Military Covenant has been 'broken'. Much is known about these hardships, particularly in academic disciplines such as psychology and military sociology but taken in the round these issues speak of the vulnerability that British soldiers face, but not of their victimization. This is hardly surprising given that victimology has paid the topics of war and soldiering virtually no attention. Therefore this thesis is an auto/biographical study of the military lives of six British military veterans with collective experiences of four decades of conflict, and a particular focus on recent service in Iraq. The study employs a Biographical-Narrative-Interpretive Method to gather the life stories of these British military veterans via both unstructured and semi-structured interviews. These interviews have been exposed to Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to draw out themes from their data which include: choice, military life, defence acquisition, the Military Covenant, experiencing, witnessing and perpetrating in conflict, and responses to victimization and survival. Each set of themes are analysed in relation to one of the three perspectives of victimological theory (positivist, radical and critical) to help frame participants experiences in the following victim typologies: ideal and undeserving victims, victims of crime, tertiary victims, victimological 'others' and non-victims. These typologies are then connected to broader victimological debates that include: military lifestyle, human rights, 'otherness ', and a critical questioning of the gendered concepts of the 'soldier' and the 'victim ', What this thesis contends is that the difficulties that British soldiers face during military service and thereafter can be understood as victimizing, but this has been neglected from criminological and victimological discourse. Although it is acknowledged that such terminology as 'victim' is often not compatible with 'soldiering', such an approach offers not only a uniquely different insight into the lives of British military veterans, but also offers the disciplines of criminology and victimology much to think about in relation to who they include and exclude from their analysis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available