Warrior Soldier Brigand

Institutional Abuse within the Australian Defence Force

Ben Wadham, James Connor
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Warrior Soldier Brigand

Institutional Abuse within the Australian Defence Force

Ben Wadham, James Connor
A forensic analysis of how institutionalised abuse in the Australian Defence Force has affected its personnel.
Questions of institutional abuse have been at the centre of numerous royal commissions, inquiries and reviews of the clergy, the police and defence forces over the past decade. This scrutiny has highlighted how those organisations foster forms of violence and violation. One of their principal characteristics is that the culture of abuse and its perpetration is largely the work of men. In Warrior Soldier Brigand, Ben Wadham and James Connor argue that three pillars shape the patterns of abuse in the Australian Defence Force: martial masculinities, military exceptionalism and fraternity. Historically, the military has been an almost exclusively male domain, but since the Vietnam War it has become an all-volunteer force and more culturally diverse, a change that has proven to be profoundly challenging, and one the ADF has not always readily welcomed nor sufficiently addressed. While the ADF may train and accommodate some of the best military personnel…
Questions of institutional abuse have been at the centre of numerous royal commissions, inquiries and reviews of the clergy, the police and defence forces over the past decade. This scrutiny has highlighted how those organisations foster forms of violence and violation. One of their principal characteristics is that the culture of abuse and its perpetration is largely the work of men. In Warrior Soldier Brigand, Ben Wadham and James Connor argue that three pillars shape the patterns of abuse in the Australian Defence Force: martial masculinities, military exceptionalism and fraternity. Historically, the military has been an almost exclusively male domain, but since the Vietnam War it has become an all-volunteer force and more culturally diverse, a change that has proven to be profoundly challenging, and one the ADF has not always readily welcomed nor sufficiently addressed. While the ADF may train and accommodate some of the best military personnel in the world, it has not resolved the use of that violent potential against its own. Exploring the fundamental paradox that underpins abuse in the military - an organisation of and for violence -Wadham and Connor report on the shifting landscape of the ADF since 1969, describing military institutional abuse across the decades and asking the question: to what extent can an authoritarian institution liberalise?

Ben Wadham

Ben Wadham

Ben Wadham is a professor in Sociology (Defence and Veteran Studies) at Flinders University in South Australia. He is a veteran of the Australian Army, having served in the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police. Ben is the director of Open Door: Understanding and Supporting Service Personnel and their Families, a research initiative at Flinders University. Ben’s research is ethnographic, focusing on the cultural relations of the military organisation…

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James Connor

James Connor

James Connor is an associate professor in the School of Business, UNSW Canberra, located at the Australian Defence Force Academy. James has spent two decades researching militaries and the conduct of men within them. His work started with questioning how loyalty fosters cohesion amongst soldiers, enabling them to fight, but also how that fraternal bonding can lead to malfeasance. This research has since expanded into military scandal, misconduct and the vexed question of gender.

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Paperback
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Available on publication date
Other formats available