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Get Real: Chasing Danish Warrior Dreams in the Afghan 'Sandbox'

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What if war is not simply a destructive force? What if war might also offer possibilities of regeneration? What if war harbours potential for self-becoming, for realizing one’s dreams, and for fulfilling one’s desires? The inquiry at hand suggests that Danish warriorhood has been revived with Denmark’s military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan. Addressing this fundamental transformation of the Danish soldier’s operational role and social identity, this article argues that there are Danish troops who seek out war in Afghanistan as an existential window of opportunity for following their desires to become ‘true warriors’ and thereby regenerate themselves as ‘authentic individuals’. Based on ethnographic fieldwork with some of the very last Danish combat soldiers deployed with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), this study explores ethnographically how these Danish ISAF troops give voice to and act upon their warrior dreams over time – before, during, and after a tour of duty in the Afghan Helmand Province. The article shows that there are Danish soldiers who become disillusioned by war – not because of any barbarity, but because of the virtual absence of any real acts of combat. As such, the inquiry bears witness, on the one hand, to how some Danish soldiers have their warrior dreams shattered by what turned out in their case to be a relatively uneventful war and, on the other hand, to how a few of these troops attempt to mend their broken warrior dreams by returning to war for a second chance.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftCritical Military Studies
Vol/bind3
Tidsskriftsnummer1
Sider (fra-til)7
Antal sider26
ISSN2333-7494
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2017
Eksternt udgivetJa

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