Armed Forces, Soldiers and Civil-Military Relations by Gerhard Kümmel

By Gerhard Kümmel

The contributions to this anthology in honor of the past due army sociologist J??rgen Kuhlmann concentrate on the soldier and his relatives in the direction of the military and in the direction of society. This person - association and person - society nexus is explored from diverse angles by way of taking a look at diversified nationwide and foreign contexts. The chapters to this quantity hence aid the educational in addition to the practitioner and the reader to higher comprehend the dynamics and the serious concerns during this soldier - army - society triangle.

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7 Ambivalent Comradeship In the military community, camaraderie constitutes a duty for any servicemember as defined in the Military Personnel Act (Soldatengesetz) to support one’s comrades under any circumstances, even when risking one’s life. Thus, the employer, by virtue of military law, demands from the individual soldier a “mechanic solidarity”, as Emile Durkheim (1999) put it. Due to this, there is a tense relationship between camaraderie and another military duty, ‘obedience’. A soldier is obliged to express camaraderie also vis-à-vis his superior, while at the same time being hierarchically subordinate to him and having to obey his orders.

3 The investigation of socio-cultural dimensions of German peacekeeping missions is based on the theory that practices typical for mission areas, values, norms, symbols and thought patterns of the soldiers constitute a subculture and “micro-culture” respectively (Hannerz 1992: 73–77) of the Bundeswehr. , the individual services or rank categories) the missions and their socio-cultural characteristics form an integral subsystem of the Bundeswehr (see Soeters/Winslow/ Weibull 2003: 238; Fujimura 2003: 136, 141–145; Rubinstein 2003: 16; Winslow 1997: 46, 53).

Everybody knows his position and his concrete roles and tasks within the network of these hierarchical relations of camaraderie, which are marked by an ongoing struggle for power, predominance and subjection. In spite of this ambivalence surrounding camaraderie, it does constitute a motivating factor for numerous soldiers on deployment abroad that cannot be overestimated. As other military sociological studies have shown, the bonds of camaraderie within the unit form the central moment in times of crisis and war that helps people endure the tough pre-deployment training, master precarious situations and permanently bear risking one’s own life (Titunik 2000: 238; McCoy 1995: 695).

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