“When you see the lipstick kisses …” - military repatriation, public mourning and the politics of respect

Sandra Lyn Walklate, Gabe Mythen, Ross McGarry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Between 2007 and 2011, a small town in Wiltshire became indelibly associated
with the repatriation of military personnel killed as a result of British involvement in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This article offers some empirical insight into, and analysis of, what this process of bringing the dead back home meant for the people of Wootton Bassett, a town afforded “Royal” status for their role in this particular repatriation process. The data gathered affords a unique opportunity to offer some general reflections on the presence of death and the politics of respect evidenced during this time and the wider implications that these process have for making sense of the ineffable within contemporary society. We suggest that Royal Wootton Bassett has not only changed the way in which we “mark the sacrifice of war”, but also encourages us as social scientists to critically reflect on the extent to which the theories that we have enable us to make sense of contemporary practices of public mourning
Original languageEnglish
Article number15009
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPalgrave Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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