Violence as Work: Ethnomethodological Insights into Military Combat Operations
Objective: The objective of this article is to outline an ethnomethodological approach to the study of professionalized violence or violence as work. It focuses primarily on violence in the context of military combat operations and the ‘situational’ analyses and assessments military personnel themselves undertake when engaging in violent action. Method: We use video from one incident (WikiLeaks’ Collateral Murder release) as a demonstration case to set out the methodological bases of ethnomethodological studies of combat violence. As part of that, we show how transcripts can be used to document the interactions in which situational analyses feature as part of coordinating and executing linked attacks. Results: Based on the video and our transcripts, we explicate how the military personnel involved collaboratively identified, assessed and engaged a group of combatants. We show the incident consisted of two attacks or engagements: a first and a follow up, treated as connected rather than distinct by those involved on situational grounds. Conclusion: Moving beyond controversy, causal explanations and remedies, the paper describes how structures of practical military action can be investigated situationally from an ethnomethodological perspective using video data. By treating collaborative military methods and practices as a focus for inquiry, this article contributes to our understanding of violence as work more broadly.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : Elsey, C., Mair, M. and Kolanoski, M. (2018) Violence as Work: Ethnomethodological Insights into Military Combat Operations. Psychology of Violence, 8 (3), pp. 316-328
Research Institute : Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research
Peer Reviewed : Yes