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Accepted Paper:

in the army: the risk is the others.  


Lea Ruelle Wargnier (University Lyon 2)

Paper short abstract:

Rearranging the rules also means changing the possibilities of transgressions. In this proposal it will be a question of thinking about what the relationship to risk in the army engenders about the relationship to rules. We will see that these arrangements protect the mental health of the military.

Paper long abstract:

After an ethnography in combat company, the results show that the relationship to risk is no longer the same as that of their culture of origin. As the training progresses, the behaviours that are usually considered dangerous because they generate a risk of death see their status change. Risk no longer appears to be a parameter for considering the probability of death or injury. Rather, risk seems to be a concept that depends on the origin of the movement. If the soldier is the origin of the action: no risk is identified. If the soldier is the one towards whom the action is directed: a risk appears. Consequently, actions that are for survival or that cause the death of others fall back into a kind of norm which is specific to the group and the risk comes from the Other. It seems that this alternative relationship to risk protects them (especially mentally) and this is what I propose to discuss in this paper.

It will be a question of presenting my ethnography and thinking about the construction of this concept that is risk. Then the different definitions of risk will be considered and the ways in which they protect or make vulnerable will be discussed. Finally, the limits and benefits of this conception of risk to the military - for their mental health - will be exposed.

Panel Pol01
Rearranging the rules in the military experience