‘You’re just chopped off at the end’: Retired servicemen’s identity work struggles in the military to civilian transition

Williams, R K, Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn, Hockey, John C ORCID: 0000-0002-5826-8005 and Evans, A B (2018) ‘You’re just chopped off at the end’: Retired servicemen’s identity work struggles in the military to civilian transition. Sociological Research Online, 23 (4). pp. 812-829. doi:10.1177/1360780418787209#

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Promoting positive transition to retirement and cultural adaption for ex-service personnel has been identified as a priority for both social-science research and for public health policy in the UK. The Royal British Legion (RBL) aims to provide support to service and retired service personnel, but to date the transition to retirement experiences of older (60-plus) ex-service personnel remain under-researched. In this article, we employ a symbolic interactionist theoretical framework to examine older servicemen’s experiences and identity challenges post-retirement from the British armed forces. Data were collected primarily through semi-structured, focus-group interviews with 20 former servicemen. Here, we focus specifically upon the challenges encountered by these ex-servicemen in the retirement transition from military to civilian life, a time of identity flux of sociological interest. To navigate this period of identity change and challenge, many participants constructed a ‘modified military self’ through involvement with the RBL as a key social support network. For many retired personnel the RBL offered a form of identification and group identity that resonated strongly with earlier experiences of comradeship in the military.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ageing, military, symbolic interactionism, transition, identity work
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2018 14:56
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:24
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/5727

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