The soldier as victim: Peering through the looking glass

Ross McGarry, Sandra Walklate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Despite a rising criminological interest in the numbers of British veterans in the criminal justice system and the criminogenic context of the Iraq conflict, a concern to understand the experiences of modern soldiers is largely hidden from the criminological and victimological gaze. This paper addresses this issue by presenting data from interviews with British military veterans and considers their 'unknowable' experiences of war in a framework of victimological otherness, including experiencing, perpetrating and witnessing conflict. Given the masculine connotations associated with 'soldiering' and presumptions of vulnerability conjured by the word 'victim', imagining the 'soldier as victim' is challenging. Here, we offer an insight into this 'victimhood' by analysing the 'common place' experiences of British soldiers during the conflict in Iraq.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-917
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • conflict
  • Iraq war
  • soldier
  • victim
  • victimology

Cite this