Militarism and the construction of community

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Abstract

This article analyzes the ways in which the state in Israel, through an array of material and symbolic practices, constitutes the subjectivity of its members and gears them to participate in the production and reproduction and reproduction of the state's power. By focusing on military service, and particularly on the reserves system, it is claimed that the sustained participation of Israeli-Jewish males in the military rests upon its construction in terms of a community. Belonging to this community of warriors is experienced in terms of embeddedness in society, as a criterion of normalcy and as an entitlement that legitimizes participation in the associations of civil society. The yearly participation in the reserves and its construction in terms of a community both generates and regenerates the subjectivity of Israeli-Jewish males. It is further claimed that conscription frameworks are an integral part of the totalizing and individuating technologies of the state in Israel. The article emphasizes two aspects of these technologies: how human beings are individuated through the signification of their value, and how this statement becomes a cornerstone for the formation of a community. It is concluded that the construction of military service and its perception in terms of a community has allowed the Israeli state to maintain a highly motivated reservoir of manpower, always ready to pursue the state's geo-political goals even under conditions of severe opposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-332
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Political and Military Sociology
Volume25
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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