Military Workfare

Military Workfare: The Soldier and Social Citizenship in Canada

DEBORAH COWEN
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 320
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442688629
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  • Book Info
    Military Workfare
    Book Description:

    Despite the centrality of war in social and political thought, the military remains marginal in academic and public conceptions of citizenship, and the soldier seems to be thought of as a peripheral or even exceptional player.Military Workfaredraws on five decades of restricted archival material and critical theories on war and politics to examine how a military model of work, discipline, domestic space, and the social self has redefined citizenship in the wake of the Second World War. It is also a study of the complex, often concealed ways in which organized violence continues to shape national belonging.

    What does the military have to do with welfare? Could war-work be at the centre of social rights in both historic and contemporary contexts? Deborah Cowen undertakes such important questions with the citizenship of the soldier front and centre in the debate. Connecting global geopolitics to intimate struggles over entitlement and identity at home, she challenges our assumptions about the national geographies of citizenship, proposing that the soldier has, in fact, long been the model citizen of the social state. Paying particular attention to the rise of neoliberalism and the emergence of civilian workfare,Military Workfarelooks to the institution of the military to unsettle established ideas about the past and raise new questions about our collective future.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8862-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. 1 Introduction: The Soldier and the Social
    (pp. 3-24)

    In April 2006, surrounded by mounting controversy and the toll of dead and injured Canadian bodies for the ‘war on terror,’ the recently elected Harper government unveiled a new benefit plan for veterans. Touted as the ‘most comprehensive since the end of the Second World War,’ the ‘Veterans Charter’ was initially drafted by the former Liberal government but expanded by Harper and company to include a ‘Veterans’ Bill of Rights’ (Globe 2006). Speaking directly before a group of veterans assembled for the announcement on Parliament Hill, Stephen Harper proclaimed: ‘Past and present, you embody the highest attributes of citizenship and...

  6. 2 The (Military) Labour of Social Citizenship
    (pp. 25-59)

    War is quintessentially destructive activity. War destroys bodies, homes, communities, cities, and even nations. The capacity of war to ravage physical and social environments is painfully evident both historically and today. But war doesn’t simply destroy. Perhaps more than any other single activity, war generates new practices and technologies. The challenge of violently taking things and people apart repeatedly yields new ways of putting them together. Military research and development plays a profound role in scientific and technological advance and extends far beyond the most predictable examples of weapons and communications. It is not only the immediate tools of combat...

  7. 3 Post-War Citizenship: Mass and Militarized
    (pp. 60-123)

    A new Canada was configured during the Second World War. National political economy and human geography were dramatically reorganized, while profound and lasting change took shape in government and the political identities of citizens. The war transformed the practices, subjectivities, and orientations of citizens and produced people that would relate to themselves and each other differently. I have argued that the iconic post-war citizen and the welfare stateheand his family would inhabit were fashioned around the norms of the worker-citizen. This worker-citizen was furthermore modelled on the productive and reproductive particularities of the labouring soldier and his ‘dependents.’...

  8. 4 The Urban, the Educated, and the Recruitment Crisis
    (pp. 124-158)

    Recruitment problems were perennial and severe by the late 1960s. And yet, while they were increasingly acute they were not entirely new to the military. Since the initiation of a standing all-volunteer force after the Second World War, personnel shortages were a regular challenge. Coordinating the swings of foreign affairs and defence policy with domestic labour markets is a complicated balancing act unique to voluntary-service national militaries. Major movement on either the global or domestic side can undermine the elasticity of personnel strength. And yet, the image of ‘sides’ is utterly inadequate and perhaps misleading; despite the national border there...

  9. 5 Reorienting Recruitment: Towards a ‘Different’ Military?
    (pp. 159-197)

    The military was not immune to the dramatic transformations in national politics of the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, the federal government subjected the CF to successive bouts of largely involuntary change. These centred on the military’s role as an employer and institution of citizenship, and the precise questions of whom it hired, how it did so, in what numbers, and for what duties. These directives, which were part of the effort to ‘modernize’ the Forces, had pervasive impact on organizational structure and ‘military culture.’ The reforms aimed to bring the federal government and public institutions in line with the...

  10. 6 The Military after Discipline
    (pp. 198-229)

    If the targeting of ‘different’ groups for recruitment was the military’s first tactical response to this ‘revolution in social affairs,’ a second and equally important strategy saw the restructuring of the armed forces itself. Alongside efforts to change its workforce, the CF aimed to change the very nature of military work. The goal of the CFPARU, as ever, was to expand the appeal of military employment for potential recruits and to improve job satisfaction among existing personnel to temper attrition. The decline in the material rewards for military work, of pay and benefits, was a key factor in its eroding...

  11. 7 The Soldier and the Rise of Workfare: Generalizing an Exceptional Figure?
    (pp. 230-254)

    Today, as in earlier moments, military citizenship can only be understood in connection to the broader politics and geographies of war, work, and welfare. When we take all these fields into account, the military’s recent optimism for its own future may not be entirely unreasonable. The expansion of welfare for soldiers shadows more familiar changes to the politics of work and welfare in the civilian world. Here we have seen growing social and spatial polarization, a crisis of the Keynesian welfare state and its ‘universal’ social rights, and an expanding emphasis on obligations over entitlements in citizenship, all of which...

  12. Conclusion: Neoliberal Military Citizenship?
    (pp. 255-260)

    This book takes the labour and citizenship of the soldier seriously. Rather than position this figure as the exception to sacred rules and rights, I have considered how the soldier has historically been a model upon which they were built. I have argued that welfarist forms of citizenship have their origins in times of war, in the image of the war worker-citizen. The soldier is not a figure associated with democracy or political rights – defining features of modern politics in Western nations. And yet, paradoxically, it was through the mass sacrifice of the population in service to the nation during...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 261-274)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 275-302)
  15. Index
    (pp. 303-314)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 315-316)