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Inventing the Swedish (War) Veteran

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Sanna Strand
Publicerad i Critical Military Studies
Sidor 1-19
ISSN 23337486
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier
Sidor 1-19
Språk en
Länkar https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ful...
Ämnesord marketization, military veterans, neoliberal governmentality, responsibility, the Swedish Armed Forces
Ämneskategorier Genusstudier, Övrig annan samhällsvetenskap, Sociologi, Statsvetenskap


Research on military veterans often stresses the importance of controlling and ascribing meaning to the bodies of veterans, both for recruitment purposes and for retaining legitimacy of military machineries and missions more generally. As wars and war veterans long have been peripheral phenomena for most citizens, Sweden offers a particularly interesting context in which to study how veterans are ascribed meaning. When abandoning conscription in favour of a postnational, all-volunteer force in 2010, the Swedish veteran emerged as a subject position in need of political invention and intervention. Since then, techniques of government have increasingly represented military personnel as uniquely deserving of public recognition, hence seemingly inventing a (war) veteran. The article offers unique insights into this process. It shows how ‘the recognized veteran’ is scripted as a self-sacrificing and yet self-fulfilling individual, for whom war deployments have brought about personal and professional growth. These constructions render veterans competitive and employable in civilian labour markets and represent the military institution as a career stepping-stone for young, responsible individuals. By analysing how veteran identities are produced and promoted through politics of recognition, this paper offers vital insights into how the Swedish Armed Forces and its deployments are made possible and desirable in a time of marketization and far-reaching military transformations.

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