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The Trauma Risk Management approach to post-traumatic stress disorder in the British military: Masculinity, biopolitics and depoliticisation

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JournalFeminist Review
DatePublished - 1 Nov 2015
Issue number1
Volume111
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)109-123
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper discusses the political implications of the British military's Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) approach to personnel suffering from combat-related mental debilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Drawing on narratives that emerged from qualitative interviews with trained TRiM practitioners and military welfare workers, I tease out some of the assumptions and beliefs about mental health and mental illness that underpin this mental health intervention programme. I explore TRiM as a biopolitical strategy targeted towards the construction of a particular conceptualisation of mental wellness and militarised masculine personhood. As a biopolitical strategy, I argue that TRiM plays an important role in the construction of ideas around mental well-being and mental frailty that best enable the operation of military power in the contemporary British context. I discuss the narrative of transformation in militarised models of masculinity that emerge from discussions of TRiM, and highlight the important political function that this plays in enabling and legitimating militarism. Finally, I draw attention to the ways in which the focus on individual and cultural factors, rather than war as the primary cause of difficulties for servicemen experiencing psychological distress, functions to neutralise the potential trouble that could be instigated for the British military by the bodies of servicemen psychologically damaged by their experiences of conflict.

    Research areas

  • biopolitics, depoliticisation, individualisation, military masculinity, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Trauma Risk Management (TRiM)

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