A redefinition of what it means to be a soldier within the Danish armed forces is currently in process. This is due to –amongst other things – political considerations about abolishing the current conscription system, a hasty development in the world of technological devices supporting military work as well as an increased focus on peacebuilding missions. The transformed role and tasks of Danish soldiers has, however, not been examined within an academic context. Therefore, the aim of this project is to unfold the redefined role of the soldier and the ‘battles’ related to this redefinition. This will be done by applying a cultural analytical perspective to this subject that is most often discussed and analyzed within the framework International Relations, Security Studies and Military Strategy and Organization.
I intent to introduce a new element; the Danish soldier as a discursive-materiel figure which reflects current cultural perceptions of e.g. citizenship, gender and body. My research question is as follows: How is the phenomenon ‘the Danish soldier’ defined and practiced as a material-discursive figure in everyday life among conscripted soldiers as well as in the military, discursive field?
This research question is addressed within two empirical contexts: First, I explore how young Danes practice the role as soldiers through their conscription period. This part is based on a participatory fieldwork where I take part in everyday life at a military barrack as way to gather qualitative material. Secondly, I inquire into how the Danish soldier is constructed and negotiated through discursive battles within the military field. This is explored through an analysis of written materials such as defense agreements and transcriptions of parliament debates.
Supervisor: Tine Damsholt (Professor with special responsibilities, Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen)