English Issue > 2005

An Annual English Selection - 2005 - 46 - Supplement

The “Military Society”. Its Future Seen Through Professionalization

François GRESLE



pp. 37-57


After clarifying what should be meant by “military society”, one is reminded that human and social sciences have for a long time shown interest in warfare and armies by giving priority to three viewpoints : historical, functionalist and socio-legal. But these are debatable even outmoded points that should be set aside to make room for another model which is termed here as a cultural one. Then, the conditions in which this entity appeared are recalled and they refer to a precise socio-cultural context : the one deriving from the birth of the nation-state in nineteenth century Europe. However, in order to be able to speak about a society, it is therefore necessary to fulfil several conditions, these are detailed in a second part where the specific features of a military group are given in more details. Once this done, the point at issue is to know whether the main characteristics which used to make of the armies a society are still valid. An attentive examination of changes that inter-state and indeed within a state confrontations have experienced in the post-Cold War era and these coinciding with army professionalization that many western countries have started, compel us to doubt somewhat the preservation of the present military society. In other words, we can bet on a relative withdrawing of the socio-cultural specificity of the military world within the global society.



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