Rebuilding the body through violence and control

Limor Samimian-Darash*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this article, I examine the bodily changes that soldiers undergo in an intensive counter-terrorism military training course. I argue that military draftees develop control and violent capabilities through Violent Reflexive Bodily Practices (VRBPs), a concept I introduce here. VRBPs, which form the core of training in this elite military unit, are simultaneously recursive, reflexive and reconstructive: they are expressed by the soldier's body and inflicted upon his body, by using them more violence is created, and their aim is not breaking the body apart, but rebuilding it into a new entity. VRBPs are concrete body techniques that are not discussed through a broad theoretical or cultural approach but as a material and concrete experience that reconstructs individuals' bodies. This article shows how 'techniques of the body' (Mauss, 1973) can be changed in a short period and reveals possible dynamics of habitually instilled capabilities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)46-63
Number of pages18
JournalEthnography
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2013

Keywords

  • body practices
  • control
  • fear
  • military training
  • violence

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