The limits of socialization and the underproduction of military violence: Evidence from the IDF

Devorah Manekin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Research on socialization can obscure the agency of its targets, presenting socialization as a uni-directional process shaping beliefs and behaviors. This assumption is even stronger for the military, a totalizing institution often portrayed as fashioning its members into violence professionals through a top-down process of domination. In contrast, this article argues that even powerful socialization processes are not omnipotent, and that individuals retain a measure of agency even under pervasive social control. Drawing on the case of the Israel Defense Force during the Second Intifada, it shows that norms inculcated during military socialization can be undermined by the more ambiguous conditions of deployment. When soldiers also subscribe to competing norms and receive social support for their dissent, resistance can emerge, increase, and become more overt. Analysis of resistance to violence underscores the power of military socialization while drawing attention to its limits. It therefore challenges homogenizing views of soldiers, illuminating the processes through which military violence is produced and curbed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)606-619
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.


  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • conflict
  • military
  • socialization


Dive into the research topics of 'The limits of socialization and the underproduction of military violence: Evidence from the IDF'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this