Med Fredsbaskrarnas möten i centrum : Utlandsveteraner berättar om tjänstgöring, identitet och sina relationer till varandra, andra människor och Försvarsmakten
Sammanfattning: This master’s thesis centers on the meetings on one organization, the Fredsbaskrarna or Peace Berets. Its purpose it to reveal and analyze the interactions, conversations and narratives at these meetings. Fredsbaskrarna is an interest organisation started by military veterans, where local meetings and face-to-face interactions are of central importance. The concrete research questions are: Which experiences of military service and of the return home (including problematic experiences such as traumas and PTSD) are revealed and discussed by the veterans? How is a collective identity (as veteran) created? In what ways is this collective identity limited? How do veterans present themselves and how do they relate to other people’s stories concerning military experience within the larger Swedish society? How do veterans talk about the Armed Forces and political responsibility? These research questions are addressed with the aid of an ethnographic study consisting of participant observations at meetings in Skåne, in southern Sweden. Participant observation was chosen as it gives a central place to the veterans’ own stories and discussions. This choice of method is unique amongst research carried out with veterans in Sweden. Qualitative researchers have mainly used interviews as the primary source of data gathering. The results of these observations are presented in two chapters. In the first chapter, the content of the meetings are presented in a descriptive way. This is done with the help of a time-frame axis, ie, what happens before, during and at the end of the meetings. In addition, different veterans and groups of veterans are presented along with the spatial aspects of the meetings themselves. In the second chapter, the empirical material is analysed under the following headings: Common experiences (experiences of military service, traumatic experiences); Helping each other; Collective identity (to (re)create a collective identity and marking boundaries in this collective identity); Self presentations (in relation to other people, to work against stereotyping and stigmatisation and to become visible in a new way); Relation to Defense Ministry, and lastly, Political responsibility. In order to create a more in-depth analysis, use of the following theories is made: Goffman’s theories about self-presentation and stigma; Connell’s theory about gender and masculinities. The concepts of collective identity and trauma are also important in the analysis.
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