Department of Political Science

Morten Brænder

Transgression within Boundaries: a qualitative study of excitement motivation among combat troops

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Recent studies show that soldiers' level of excitement increases when they are exposed to the hardships of war. However, we know little about what meaning the soldiers themselves associate with the general concept of excitement. Using qualitative interviews conducted with Danish troops before and after deployment to Helmand, Afghanistan, this article starts closing this gap. Thirty-eight interviews were conducted (22 before deployment, 16 after). Here, two interviewees, selected by means of a concurrent quantitative panel study, are in focus. The in-depth analysis of these interviews- as well as results from the larger pool of qualitative and quantitative data- reveal that the soldiers sees the pursuit of excitement as intrinsically tied to their professional identity. They may be in it for the thrill, but they deny the notion that excitement is about breaching social norms. On the contrary, an important reason for being deployed is the prospect of gaining real soldier experience, and the more danger you have faced, the more you seem to emphasize this aspect. Accordingly, becoming a true soldier implies transgressing yourself while observing the norms of the military institution.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Psychology
Pages (from-to)23-42
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Forsiden til post-printet skal laves, når publiceringsoplysninger foreligger/Kirsten

    Research areas

  • Excitement, Interpretive research, Professionalism, Sensation seeking, Soldiers

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