The welfare of soldiers and their families, both provision and neglect, is a theme relevant to wars throughout history. Understanding the role of economies – financial, emotional and social – in the success or failure of past military welfare systems is crucial for identifying how societies can structure and improve these systems today.
As the levels of conflict grew in the twentieth century, the welfare of soldiers and their families became an ever-increasing priority for the state systems which fund and direct the military. However, in the context of tightening budgets, the ability of states to address this identified need often proved to be incompatible with other state priorities. Indeed, these priorities have often been determined by the post-war political context, rather than the outcome of the conflict itself. Whilst recent history points to a greater societal emphasis on welfare provision for ex-combatants, this is an area of concern that is as old as war itself, and which can be located within all combatant nations.
Where state support has been limited, it has left those in need of support without. This has often resulted in military communities, or sections of them seeking private support, to obtain the welfare that states and governments are unwilling or unable to deliver. Foremost among these alternative providers are charities and philanthropic organisations. Thus, veteran support was located and continues to be located in a ‘mixed economy of welfare, ’ where state and private welfare co-exist.
The welfare systems developed for military communities have come to embrace different aspects of support: financial, emotional and rehabilitative, and developments in this last field have often been adopted for civilian use by the state. Yet despite this relationship, civilian groups can resent what they perceive to be preferential treatment for veterans, whilst the latter group can feel let down by the levels of government provision. This in turn can cause further challenges, as the development of an alternative veteran welfare economy can elicit contradictory reactions from its clients; for some communities, it can affirm an exalted status, but for others it can engender a sense of marginalisation from the mainstream.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Researchers from the arts, humanities and social sciences are invited to submit. Papers covering under-represented periods and geographies will be particularly welcomed and proposals from early career researchers and doctoral students are especially encouraged.
The deadline for proposals is 01 March 2024.
Proposals should include a title and abstract of no more than 250 words, outlining your paper, along with a short biography of no more than 100 words, including any institutional affiliations.
You will receive notification of acceptance no later than 22 March 2024.