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Title: The ethics of Israeli militarism : soldiers' testimony and the formation of the Israeli soldier-subject
Author: Eastwood, James
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 5496
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis argues that ethics plays a crucial role in sustaining Israeli militarism. It shows how ethics has become important both in motivating soldiers to participate in military service in Israel and in constraining political activism against Israel's military engagements. The research is based on several months of fieldwork in Israel/Palestine, comprising interviews with key informants and participantobservation. Ethics and war are often intuitively understood as existing in antagonism with each other. The argument of this thesis, however, is that ethics can very easily facilitate the use of military violence, especially when ethical activity is used primarily as an opportunity to shape soldiers as subjects. This gives rise to a situation of militarism, in which processes of subject formation and military preparation intertwine and soldiers' experience of themselves as subjects depends on their ethical performance in war. The thesis draws on existing literature concerning militarism - both in the study of Israel and in International Relations theory - which it combines with theoretical insights developed from the later work of Michel Foucault and psychoanalysis. The thesis offers several empirical studies to demonstrate its argument. It analyses the ethical code of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the teaching of military ethics in the IDF, and the role of ethical pedagogy at Israeli pre-military academies. It also investigates the work of the Israeli veterans' activist group, 'Breaking the Silence', which attempts to use a moral critique voiced through the testimonies of soldiers in order to campaign for the end of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Throughout it draws attention to how ethical practice, and especially testimony, contributes to militarist subject formation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral