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Veterans' Policies, Veterans' PoliticsNew Perspectives on Veterans in the Modern United States$
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Stephen R. Ortiz

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813042077

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813042077.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 07 December 2021

Exploring the Effects of Combat Exposure on American Civic Life

Exploring the Effects of Combat Exposure on American Civic Life

Chapter:
(p.281) 12 Exploring the Effects of Combat Exposure on American Civic Life
Source:
Veterans' Policies, Veterans' Politics
Author(s):

Christopher S. Parker

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813042077.003.0013

Military service is believed to contribute to civic life on veterans’ return to civil society: it is believed to produce productive, allegiant citizens. What if exposure to combat also damages the practice of democracy in America? This chapter explores a psychological mechanism by which exposure to combat has the opposite effect on civic attitudes. Drawing on combat-related stress and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as examples of combat-related trauma, the chapter shows that participation in combat is not always associated with allegiant citizens, a requirement for political stability. In fact, the chapter suggests, allegiance varies with combat exposure and the veteran's postwar condition. A veteran emerging from combat without psychological scars is likely to remain allegiant. However, this chapter indicates, veterans falling victim to combat stress will likely become alienated.

Keywords:   civics, posttraumatic stress disorder, veterans, military service, democracy, combat stress

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