Canadian Military Identity Constructions: Examining Civil-Military Relations in Canada
AdvisorBercuson, David Jay
AuthorBrush, Stephen Lloyd
Committee MemberTerriff, Terry Richard
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AbstractThis thesis examines the relationship between the armed forces and society in Canada. Traditional civil-military studies approach the topic to examine civil control of the military or by exploring the degree of integration between the military and civilian spheres. The approach adopted here focuses on the military institution as a sub-state actor that is a product of the Canadian state’s identity formation process. The military’s identity is a social construction under constant negotiation and is a product of the relationship between government, military, and citizens. Interviews with Defence Team members and a discourse analysis of the two most recent defence white papers, among other sources, outlines a complicated and multifaceted social process by which military identity formation occurs within Canada. The examination outlines how successive governments are the stewards of the military identity formation process and that they control the fate of the past, present, and future constructions. Defence white papers are presented as both sites of military identity construction through their inherently biased narratives and as determinants for the future of the military organization by virtue of their structuring effect on defence policy development. This study reveals a highly competitive discursive space whereby governments and their competitors vie for hegemony insofar as military identity constructions are concerned. The analysis exposes the underlying assumptions of the civil-military relationship in Canada. It warns against including idealistic discourse as part of the military identity formation process as the state’s very existence is hedged on cultivating the correct military organization capable of providing security.
CitationBrush, S. L. (2021). Canadian military identity constructions: examining civil-military relations in Canada (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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