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.
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