Discursive strategies: how Israeli soldiers explain what they do and why they do it
(University of Amsterdam)
Paper short abstract:
This paper will focus on dominant discursive strategies Israeli soldiers use when giving account of their daily tasks and operational activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I will try to show in what (discursive) ways these soldiers make sense of their violent surroundings and actions.
Paper long abstract:
This paper will focus on the dominant discursive strategies that Israeli soldiers use when giving account of their daily tasks and operational activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The occupation itself and the presence of the soldiers in the OPT require soldiers to carry out nightly arrests, to man checkpoints and to patrol Palestinian towns and villages. During these constabulary tasks, they are constantly confronted with the "other": the Palestinian. These meetings have a high potential to lead to violent interactions, either verbal or physical. This paper deals with the way soldiers give account of such "violent meetings" and their military practises in general. I will try to show what discursive strategies soldiers use to explain, legitimize or justify their behaviour and thus how they make sense of their actions. Dominant themes in the discourse of soldiers, such as a focus on professionalism or ideology, will be filtered out and discussed in more detail. Furthermore, I will show how these strategies can be traced back to Israeli society and the way it perceives its soldiers and the military in general, as such strategies are socially constructed and not individual.Download the full paper