"Valhalla rising": gender, embodiment and experience in military memoirs

Dyvik, Synne L (2016) "Valhalla rising": gender, embodiment and experience in military memoirs. Security Dialogue, 47 (2). pp. 133-150. ISSN 0967-0106

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Recent contributions to International Relations (IR) place embodiment, experience, and emotion at the centre of its analysis of war. Recognising that war should be ‘studied up from people and not down from places that sweep blood, tears and laughter away’ (Sylvester, 2012: 484), I extend this aim to analyse embodiment and experience through Norwegian military memoirs from Afghanistan. These are relevant empirically not necessarily because they contest political aims or offer policy recommendations, but because of how these embodied narratives, influenced by particular gendered conceptions of ‘warrior masculinity’ and Viking mythology, trouble Norwegian public narratives. Through focusing on how memoirs construct the sensory experience of combat, I argue that these enable us to push conceptual understandings of embodiment and experience in IR. They show how war is experienced as an assemblage of pleasure and pain, and how this is caught up in complex blurrings of individual and collective militarised bodies. Analysing how the pain and pleasure of war is made sense of through and between bodies, allows us to advance the usage of embodiment as a concept in IR, in turn leaving the discipline better equipped to understand wars complex embodied assemblages and its continued seductions to those who practice it.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Embodiment, Gender, International Relations, Norway, Military Memoirs, War
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Synne Dyvik
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2016 09:35
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2017 10:26
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/60571

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