Beyond being the best: educating for narrative repair in transition from British Army to ‘Civvy Street’

PhD Thesis

Cable, G. 2020. Beyond being the best: educating for narrative repair in transition from British Army to ‘Civvy Street’ . PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Teacher Education
AuthorsCable, G.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Education

This thesis presents a military to civilian transition (MCT) autoethnography to highlight the unique nature of military life and work, and how this can complexify a move back to ‘Civvy Street’. It reinforces prevailing research indicating that the total career and life demands inherent in a military context can lead to the emergence of a profound sense of a covenanted military self, which, by definition, can fragment amid an experience of significant loss as military leavers (MLs) attempt to cross the civilmilitary gap; frequently accompanied by additional issues of trauma.

With a focus on enculturation into the British Army and how that can problematise attempts to construct a transition bridge, the narrative account at the centre of this thesis serves to exemplify not only the findings reflected in the pertinent literature but to illustrate how educating MLs, veterans and their families in the use of narrative review methods might assist them, with support, to co-construct their own transitions. The resulting recommendations are founded on the author’s conceptualisation of a Manoeuvrist Approach to MCT; itself a metaphor based on existing military doctrine and a means of enabling those embarking on or undergoing MCT to harness their personal, situational and support assets to outweigh and manoeuvre around any liabilities. This supported self-assessment process can be adaptive to individual circumstances and can afford those undertaking it a vital sense control in their transition trajectories.

While the application of this approach would require adjustment to current MCT assistance in the United Kingdom (UK), such alteration need not be financially expensive. In contrast, the personal, social and financial costs of failing to provide effective support to MLs, veterans and their families can be dear for all concerned. The Manoeuvrist Approach to realising MCT benefits that this thesis proposes might mitigate many of those socioeconomic costs.

KeywordsBitish Army; Civilian transition
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Publication process dates
Deposited01 Oct 2020
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