Wilkinson, Hannah Rose (2019) No man’s land? Veterans’ experiences of 21st century warfare and the return to post-conflict life. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This thesis presents original research exploring how serving in 21st century theatres of war impacts on the return to ‘civilian’ life (‘civvy street’). Through a rich analysis of in-depth narrative interviews with former military personnel, this research seeks to better understand the complexities of navigating between military and civilian fields – ‘no man’s land’ – amid the uncertainties, precariousness, and violent politics of modern life in ‘civvy street’ (Bauman, 2007; Cooper and Whyte, 2017). Significantly, the thesis develops the new concept of ‘combat capital’ (Wilkinson, 2016, 2017), to provide a novel framework to help make sense of the embodied and symbolic ‘value’ of war experiences. Used in conjunction with ‘field theory’ (Bourdieu, 1977, 1990), the theoretical lens of ‘combat capital’ makes visible a continuum of conflict and ‘ordinary suffering’ (Bourdieu et al., 1999), deeply rooted in the state and its institutions, that runs throughout the life course of participants in varying degrees of severity. Grounded in the experiences and voices of those currently absent within criminological literature (Walklate and McGarry, 2015a), this thesis offers a rare insight into the lived experience of being employed to deliver violence within the uniquely ‘blurred’, and ambiguously justified American and British led ‘war on terror’ (Degenhardt, 2013; Kramer and Michalowski, 2005; Mythen, 2016). Ultimately, this thesis reveals an entanglement of the embodied ‘traces of war’ (McGarry and Walklate, 2011), with the socio-political contexts of ‘civvy street’, to argue that a ‘post-conflict’ life no longer appears to exist. Instead, the continuum of conflict demonstrated in this thesis, suggests that ‘civilian life’ in the 21st century is a potential ‘no man’s land’ to be navigated.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Embargo on access until 1 March 2024 - The thesis is due for publication, or the author is actively seeking to publish this material and the thesis includes information that was obtained under a promise of confidentiality.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > HV1 Criminology
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Contributors: Lippens, Ronnie (Thesis advisor)
Girling, Evi (Thesis advisor)
Weston, Samantha (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 12:25
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2023 15:58
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/6092

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