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Title: Support is the new service : gendered political obligation, the military, and collective subject formation in international relations : an examination of support the troops discourse and civil-military relations in the US and UK from 2001-2010
Author: Millar, Katharine M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 2870
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq highlighted a key characteristic of contemporary Western civil- military relations. Today, a small group of volunteers fights a distant conflict while popular familiarity with military service and war declines. There is a disconnect between this way of war and enduring cultural understandings of the appropriate normative relationship between gender (particularly masculinity), military service, and citizenship. This study examines "support the troops" (StT) discourses in the United States and United Kingdom during the "global war on terror" (2001-2010) as a representation of this on-going transformation in gendered/ing civil-military relations. Methodologically, the study employs structured discourse analysis to map an original data set of previously unexamined documents produced by UK and US state and military officials, pro-military non-governmental organizations, peace and anti-war movements, and media. It is the first systematic social scientific study of the "support the troops" phenomenon. The patterns inductively generated within the mapping are interpreted using a poststructural (re)conceptualisation of the military as a discursive structural effect, as well a formal institution and social relation. The study argues that StT is a means of addressing the gendered civilian anxiety that accompanies non-service in wartime. It finds that StT is a political contestation over the appropriate normative structure of gendered civil-military relations. Through the articulation of three ideal-typical, intertwined logics of gendered political obligation, StT discourse reconstitutes military support, rather than military service, as the sine qua non of contemporary normative citizenship. Via a series of gendered associations and contrasts with "the troops", support is further produced as a means of military participation. Correspondingly, ostensibly separate "civil" society is (re)masculinised. Together, the underlying logics of gendered political obligation work to discursively instantiate and (re)produce an idealised vision of the political community, extending and legitimating the transnational liberal social order.
Supervisor: Frazer, Elizabeth Sponsor: Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: International relations ; Political Theory ; Politics ; Civil-Military Relations ; Democracy ; Gender ; Citizenship ; Troops ; Obligation ; Military