This panel presents ethnographic research on military mobilities and the social transitions they entail.
War notoriously displaces civilian populations fleeing violence, ethnic cleansing and disease. Soldiers and their families, though, undergo other kinds of mobility that have been less researched. Soldiers sent from "home" to the "front" move not just through space but also into a new social reality. Some military families follow the movements of soldier partners and parents; others are disrupted or broken by military mobilities. The transition from soldier to veteran entails another journey requiring attention to the practicalities of resettlement as well as navigation of changing moral norms and rhythms of everyday life.
This panel critically examines these symbolically and politically charged mobilities through ethnographies of veterans, soldiers, and military families and institutions. The panel will examine questions, such as: What socialities develop in military towns and communities, and how are they shaped by movement to, and from, areas of conflict? How are families changed by deployments, resettlement and the emotionally charged "fictive kin relations" that often emerge amongst brothers-in-arms and sisters-in-arms? Military service may bring injury, illness or trauma. How do soldiers navigate challenges to physical and mental health in different social, military and clinical environments? Moreover, military hierarchies differentiate mobility; rank-and-file typically have less control over their mobility, and may even be deployed against their will. What then are the lived effects of the power geographies entailed by military service?
We welcome researchers from all disciplines to present ethnographic research that examines military mobilities and the social transitions they entail.