pdf Recruitment, counter-recruitment and critical military studies

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Recruitment, counter-recruitment and critical military studies

Despite constituting the formal mechanism by which states and militaries persuade and enrol their personnel, military recruitment is poorly understood in the social and political sciences. Tied either to a normative and partisan sociology which aims to provide applied solutions for recruitment and retention programmes, or subsumed under a broad banner, by critical scholars, of a global ‘cultural condition’ of militarisation, studies of recruitment lack the rigour they should be afforded. In exploring these issues, the paper offers a vision of critical military studies which takes seriously the efforts of counter-military recruiting activist and protest movements in the US and UK. Counter-recruitment activism is billed as the most practical way to resist policies of militarism and militarisation. In promoting locally situated, practical solutions to the effects of militarised cultures (often as part of activism in schools), it aims to expose the relationship between, and acts to correct, both local and global injustices. In reviewing the practical and conceptual basis for counter-recruiting strategies, and speaking to broader movements in feminist scholarship on militarisation, the paper demonstrates the importance of critical studies of military recruitment, and in so doing, argues for a critical military studies which is situated amidst the people and places militarism affects.

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