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Feeling Militarism: Pleasure and Depletion in Contemporary Militarism

Invictus Games

This project considers how militarism is felt. Building on recent scholarship that explores individuals' everyday experiences of militarism and the broader 'turn' to emotions and affect in International Relations and feminist cultural theory, the project examines militarism according to its intercorporeal, emotional and affective sensations. Examining in close detail three sites of contemporary militarism - the Invictus Games; Warrior Games; and Ms Veteran America - and drawing on the feminist political economy understanding of 'depletion', Feeling Militarism explores how for the military, veteran and civilian bodies involved, militarism is felt through a range of emotions and affects: as both pleasure and disappointment; love and frustration; joy and harm. The project aims to produce an intimate retelling of experiences of militarism, provide a fuller account of its affective landscape, and contribute to broader discussions about the global politics of war and violence.

The project draws on fieldwork research, including ethnographic insights, non-participant observation, and in-depth qualitative interviews.

The project will consider the following research questions:

  • How is militarism felt?
  • In what ways does militarism sustain bodies?
  • What is the relationship between militarism and depletion?
  • What can feelings of militarism tell us about the global politics of war and violence?

Funded by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, the project commenced in September 2016 and will run for three years.

The Principle Investigator for the project is Dr Julia Welland from the PAIS Department, University of Warwick.

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