A sociological analysis of military resilience: Opening up the debate

Ross McGarry, Sandra Lyn Walklate, Gabe Mythen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The term ‘resilience’ has grown in its usage across a range of disciplines and practices. The US military and the British armed forces have typified this increasing use of ‘resilience’ in recent years within such initiatives as Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) and throughout British Army Doctrine. However by unpacking what being ‘resilient’ for soldiers might mean we explore the interaction between their personal ‘masculine’ characteristics, the structural environment within which they operate, and the civilian life they return to. In doing so this paper offers a critical sociological analysis combining the agency of the soldiers’ body with the structure of the military as a [total institution] to problematize issues of masculinity, stigma and resilience within the military setting. As such, we question if the fostering of ‘resilience’ in
military personnel is something that may be productive during service, but counterproductive thereafter when service personnel return to civilian life as veterans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-378
Number of pages17
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • resilience
  • soldiering
  • masculinity
  • stigma
  • barriers to care
  • comprehensive soldier fitness
  • sociology

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