View Full Version : Anthropological studies of "military culture"

12-10-2008, 08:45 PM
I'm looking for anthropological studies of military culture. Unfortunately, all the publicity that the HTS has collected make Google searches full of "search engine fratricide" and it's difficult to search anthro, culture and military and get anything but thousands of hits on HTS.

I'm interested in seeing what kind of work has been done to evaluate US military culture, in particular from an anthro viewpoint.



Rob Thornton
12-10-2008, 09:57 PM
Have you read Dr. Gerald Hickey's "The American Military Advisor and His Foreign Counterpart: The Case of Vietnam - 1965" (http://www.rand.org/pubs/authors/h/hickey_gerald_cannon.html)? Dr. Hickey's anthropological field work in Vietnam is very good (he was doing field work there before and during U.S. involvment). John T cites Dr. Hickey in his chapter in the SFA Case Study in the SWJ Journal. There is a good deal of discussion on the effect of military culture in his study as it relates to the advising of foreign forces. I recently had the chance to meet and interview Dr. Hickey, he is still sharp as tack with a great deal to offer.

It may be that the observances of military culture are not in the title. You might PM MarcT and ask him for his list. I'll send you the study when I get back to Leavenworth.
Best, Rob

12-10-2008, 09:59 PM
Anna Simons...She's a anthropologist that specializes in the anatomy of conflict and teaches in the defense analysis department at NPS. One of her books is entitled The Company they Keep: Life inside the US Army Special Forces.


I haven't read that book, but I've had two of her classes and read numerous articles. She's very bright and very controversial. She makes you think.

Another consideration is Pamela Frese's Anthropology and the United States Military: Coming of Age in the Twenty-First Century.

Good luck with your search.



Ken White
12-10-2008, 10:02 PM

While sociological analysis of the military has been around for some time (e.g., Durkheim, 1897/1951), military sociology is primarily an outgrowth of World War II (Coates and Pellegrin, 1965) and the subsequent Cold War. Its defining first books were The American Soldier (Stouffer et al., 1949-1950), The Soldier and the State (Huntington, 1957), The Professional Soldier (Janowitz, 1960), and The American Enlisted Man (Moskos, 1970). The first major textbook focused on the sub-field was a Universityof-Maryland-based work titled, Military Sociology: A Study of American Military Institutions and Military Life (Coates and Pellegrin, 1965). in the ballpark. You can Google the Authors and probably find links to much more.

Ken White
12-10-2008, 10:07 PM
Anna Simons...She's a anthropologist that specializes in the anatomy of conflict and teaches in the defense analysis department at NPS. One of her books is entitled The Company they Keep: Life inside the US Army Special Forces.She concentrates on SF enlisted guys. Her book was pretty accurate IMO but I understand it annoyed some at SOCOM. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

She used to be married to an SF NCO -- irrelevant, may or may not still be but she's unquestionably sharp and got that book right.

Devil's Advocate
12-10-2008, 10:51 PM

"Portrait of the Israeli Soldier", by Reuven Gal

Not American, but similar to the "American Soldier" study following WWII. Maybe it could be used to contrast US studies. The link provides a pretty in-depth preview of the study.

Tom Odom
12-11-2008, 01:31 PM
Not anthor but historical analysis of cultural effects on soldiers in the Civil War;

Dr. Gerald Linderman, Embattled Courage

He was Morrison Professor in CSI when I was back as a student and one of my MMAS advisors. I know that CARL has the book--may still be sold in the book store.


Tom Odom
12-11-2008, 10:53 PM
PS and related would be Queen Victoria's Little Wars (http://www.amazon.com/Queen-Victorias-Little-Byron-Farwell/dp/0393302350/ref=pd_sim_b_2), Mr Kipling's Army (http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Kiplings-Army-Byron-Farwell/dp/0393304442/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_c)by Byron Farwell

very interesting, amusing, and informative

12-11-2008, 11:03 PM
I was actually bragging on the RFI section of this forum, yesterday.


And special kudos for the "free downloads" links. Don't even have to cross Grant Avenue for those.:):D

Thanks for the info. My interest is piqued, because I'm simultaneously reading a Civil/Military primer by a Dutch consortium and rereading "The Regiment" by John Dalmas, immediately after reading "Ender's Game".

Combined with my current life situation, it's become a "perfect storm" to learn about the C-M cultural gap.