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P077


Securitized Education: critical perceptions on the entanglements between military, security and education [Anthropology of Security Network, Peace and Conflict Studies in Anthropology PACSA] 
Convenorss:
Erella Grassiani (University of Amsterdam)
Nir Gazit (Ruppin Academic Center)
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Format:
Network affiliated Panels
Sessions:
Wednesday 22 July, 8:30-10:30, 11:00-13:00 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

This panel seeks to demonstrate how military/security and educational domains are entangled in ways that promote militarization and securitization. By examining these entanglements critically, we aim to uncover processes that normalize the use of violence and military means within civil society.

Long Abstract

The proposed panel seeks to demonstrate how military/security and educational domains are entangled in ways that promote discourses and practices of militarization and securitization. By adopting a critical perspective on these entanglements, we want to uncover processes that normalize and legitimize the (potential) use of violence and military means within civil society. This can take shape in various settings and through the involvement of state and non-state armed organizations and groups that are increasingly involved in the educational realm. This realm is made up of both formal educational institutions (schools and universities) and informal ones, such as educational activities within social movements and extra-curricular programs.

This involvement materializes through establishing connections between pupils or students and military/security institutions, by the engagement of youth and even children in military style trainings, exposure to militaristic texts and excursions to military sites, for example. But it can also takes shape in other securitized settings, such as preparation for emergency scenarios, the fortification of schools (including the presence of security personnel), sponsorship by military, and police and security companies of educational projects (including university programs). Other examples are the involvement of security or military actors in teaching, but also militias who mobilize support through educational initiatives.

We invite papers that reflect on these entanglements in various (national) settings and in multiple ways, involving either statist organizations (such as military, police) or non-state organizations (such as private security companies and militias).

Accepted papers:

Author:

Tammy Hoffman (Kibbutzim College of Education)

Paper short abstract:

The involvement of the army in education in Israel is an interesting study case for the analysis of civil-military relations.This paper explores this involvement from the perspective of teachers and shows their potential to be the focal point of militarization or de-militarization in education.

Paper long abstract:

The proposed paper is in the intersection of militarism, teacher's education and civic education. Via the Israeli case, I aim to present a discussion of the possible role of teachers in the face of the growing involvement of the military in education systems. At the center of this paper are the perspectives of Israeli teachers towards the military's attempts to participate in school work regarding national and civic education.

Since 2005, the Israeli Ministry of Education, together with the army, has expressed concern regarding the decline in motivation of young Israelis to serve in the army. This apprehension has been mobilized into educational programs that aim to help increase the solidarity with the army, and to enhance inducement of students towards meaningful service. This research aims to understand why and how teachers cooperate with these programs. This is a qualitative research that uses an interpretive-phenomenological approach to analyze the perceptions of teachers towards the educational activities held by the army in schools. The analysis of in-depth interviews with twenty teachers suggests a pendulum of pedagogical strategies, all aim to deal with the fusion of militaristic values in school curriculum. The analysis suggests that teachers can serve as an instrumental factor in the militarization or de-militarization of education settings and that the way they cope with this (im)balance of civil - military values in school is significant in understanding the mechanism of the entanglement of military and educational domains in a democratic society.

Author:

Tom Ormson (University of Sheffield)

Paper short abstract:

Since 2012 many in Britain have painted a 'military ethos' within education as a way to improve discipline, provide male role models, and even prevent knife crime. This paper presents the initial findings of a critical discourse analysis of the British government's 'Military Ethos Initiatives'.

Paper long abstract:

Concerns about youth criminality, extremism and violence in the post 9/11 period have led to an ever increasing encroachment by the British state into young people's lives. In turn, the government has taken a greater role in attempting to manage 'at-risk' youngsters, epitomised by its 2012 implementation of 'Military Ethos Initiatives'.

Brought about in part because, in the eyes of one think tank, "children from more deprived neighbourhoods often respond to raw physical power" Military Ethos Initiatives actively seek to bring the military and its supposed values into the educational environment. In the government's eyes, such initiatives bring discipline, leadership and male role models into schools with 'troublesome' kids. They also conveniently provide under-18s (who make up well over 1/4 of recruits) with a positive view of the British Army.

The state has taken a multi-faceted approach to implement these initiatives: introducing cadet units into secondary schools, funding military-style charities to carry out interventions with 'problem' children, enticing veterans into the classroom as teachers, and making use of the government's free schools initiative in an attempt to create military-style schools entirely staffed by veterans.

This paper will present the initial findings from the critical discourse analysis carried out as part of my PhD research. Bringing together newspaper articles, academic and think tank reports, and material used by the government to justify these initiatives, the analysis will critically investigate the class-based, gendered and racialised assumptions that underpin the perceived benefits of a 'Military Ethos' in British schools.

Author:

Nikolaus Gerold (University of Melbourne)

Paper short abstract:

By closely examining young people's engagement with everyday militarism in a college campus in small town India, this project sheds light on the various motivations that underlie processes of militarisation.

Paper long abstract:

India has a strong tradition of separation between the civilian and the military. However, against the backdrop of the contemporary assertion of India’s place in the world, the current right-wing government and other powerful institutions increasingly blur the distinction between civil and military spheres by invoking the military model as a template for a rapid transformation of a malfunctioning India and a laissez-faire attitude of its civilians.

This paper discusses how these attempts to militarise everyday life of Indian citizens materialise in a small-town college in the North Indian state of Uttarakhand. Since this state represents one of the traditional recruiting grounds of the Indian army, everyday life is marked by the presence of ex-servicemen, aspiring soldiers as well as civilians who were not able to join the defence sector but nevertheless glorify the military. Local youth, who are the primary casualty of joblessness in this socio-economically disadvantaged region, are conceived of as “at risk/as risk”. Teachers, professors as well as student politicians from right-wing parties and social workers of a fascist organisation try to “prevent them from drifting off into negativity” by instilling in them ethics of a self-responsible and patriotic citizen-entrepreneur. Celebrating a “cult of exposure”, these actors confront college students with everyday drills and ideas that borrow heavily from the military sphere. By looking at these attempts to infuse the sphere of higher education with a militaristic ethos, this paper will demonstrate how students creatively adopt these discourses and practices in order to pursue their own future goals.

Author:

Sofya Ragozina (Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)

Paper short abstract:

Despite the fact that Islam belongs to so-called traditional religion in Russia, state policy towards Muslim community is often highly securitized. We will show how narrative of security based on memory of Afghan and Chechen wars determines contours of Islamic education in contemporary Russia.

Paper long abstract:

Islam in Russia is the second largest religion after Christianity. According to the 2010 census, the number of Muslims is estimated at 13 million, which is 9% of the total population. Despite the fact that Islam belongs to the so-called traditional religions for Russia (along with Orthodoxy, Buddhism and Judaism), state policy is based on a suspicious attitude towards the Muslim community. Often issues that somehow affect this area turn out to be highly dependent on security issues. In an effort to develop a strategy for managing the Muslim community, the state apply to the discourse of the so-called social integration, which is determined on the basis of the political and cultural categorization of "our" moderate Muslims and non-extremist Muslims. So in the Russian public discourse there are categories of "traditional" (loyal to the authorities) and "radical" Islam. Such securitization, on the one hand, and accommodation, on the other hand, are manifested in many areas of socio-political life: from measures to tighten anti-terrorism legislation to the policies in the field of Islamic education. This paper is dedicated to Islamic education policy in Russia. We want not just simply describe milestones in the formation of this system - rather to focus on the key institutional and epistemological problems of modern Islamic education in Russia. We will consider several cases and show how narrative of security based on historical memory of Afghan war and Chechen conflicts determines contours of Islamic education in contemporary Russia.

Authors:

Nir Gazit (Ruppin Academic Center)
Erella Grassiani (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

The Israeli organization HaShomer HaChadash fills a security gap in Israel's periphery. It combines its main mission of securing farms with educational activities. We argue that the combination between security and education is a renaissance of Israeli civilian militarism in the state's margins.

Paper long abstract:

The Israeli social organization HaShomer HaChadash (New Guard) attempts to fill a security gap in Israel's periphery by tackling the continuous threat of what it frames as 'agricultural terrorism' - the theft of animals and arson of framers' crops. To help the farmers, the organization provides voluntary guarding services that also include agricultural work, such as harvesting and planting trees. This main mission to secure and support farms is combined with a wide array of educational activities. In recent years the organization has established three high schools, it operates a youth movement, summer camps, and a pre-military training program. While all these programs emphasize the importance of agriculture, and the virtue of civilian solidarity, they also include the teaching of military themes (such as leadership, heroism and sacrifice) and military skills training (guarding, navigation, and Krav Maga). Moreover, many of these programs are carried by former military officers.

The proposed paper investigates the nexus of militarism and education as manifested in Israeli civil society through the activities of HaShomer HaChadash. While the entanglement of militarism and education has deep roots in Israeli political culture, it has usually been nurtured by the government and not by non-state organizations. We argue that the combination between security and educational activities can be interpreted as a renaissance of Israeli civilian militarism and neo-nationalism in the margins of the state. At the same time, it enables the organization to civilianize and de-politicize the realm of security, and even integrate it with a neo-liberal agenda.

Author:

Barbara Karatsioli (Nanterre)

Paper short abstract:

The national service is back in France in a new form, the National Universal Service (SNU) for adolescents. To institute this form of national service, the government is asking associations to support the project alongside the military, causing a fracture that this paper studies ethnographically.

Paper long abstract:

The national service is currently back in France in a new form, the National Universal Service (SNU) for adolescents. Initially conceived by Macron as a mandatory and universal military service, "military" service has since become "national" universal service, a mandatory and universal project involving a one-week commitment by an entire age group, 16-year olds, who have no right to conscientious objection, followed by a period of voluntary service before the age of 25. Run by the military but funded by the Ministry of Education and Youth, at a time when credit accruing to education and employment has dropped significantly, the project aims to reinforce national cohesion and promote young people's engagement to further the general interests and security of society, and by so doing, to compensate for a lack of social, political, and geographical intermingling. To institute this new form of national service, the government is asking associations to support the project alongside the military. But this request has caused a fracture, with some acquiescing and others protesting. This paper looks at the fracture ethnographically, by studying on the one hand, those associations collaborating with the military to institute the project, and on the other, the alliances opposing it, including human rights organizations, anti-war associations, conscientious objectors, even the scouts. It asks what kind of in/security this new project forges, when bringing the nation and the army together, putting the military and the police in charge of forming future generations?