Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-5381-1423-0 • Hardback • August 2018 • $38.00 • (£29.00)
978-1-5381-1424-7 • eBook • August 2018 • $36.00 • (£28.00)
Wendy M. Christensen, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey. She has published in journals such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, Critical Military Studies, and the International Journal of Feminist Politics. Her current research interests focus on how race, class, and gender inequalities shape political participation and grassroots political organization.
PART I: RECRUITMENT
Chapter 1: The Bargain: You Made Them Strong, We’ll Make Them Army Strong
Chapter 2: Be All That You Can Be: Race and Class in Recruitment
PART II: DEPLOYMENT
Chapter 3: “Half My Heart Is in Iraq”: The Silent Ranks
Chapter 4: “My Son Fights for Your Freedom”: The Politics of Support
PART III: POST-DEPLOYMENT HEALTHCARE
Chapter 5: Returning Home: The Invisible Burden of Caregiving
Chapter 6: The Few, the Proud, the Forgotten
Conclusion: Is Maternal Citizenship Full Citizenship?
Christensen’s research is based on Department of Defense recruitment and support documents, interviews with mothers, and military mothers’ message boards. Her conclusive chapter focuses on 10 points that political and governmental leaders would do well to consider. — Booklist
Wendy Christensen doesn’t let us slide into simplistic assumptions about either militarization or women as mothers. Her careful listening over a decade reveals American racially diverse women dealing with their government’s pressures, their own expectations, their strategic choices about when to stay silent and when to speak out. This book has taught me a lot.— Cynthia Enloe, Author of The Big Push: Exposing and Challenging Persistent Patriarchy
Too often the experience of parents is left out of research about military families, despite military members’ financial, psychological, and other reliance on parents, especially mothers, during enlistment, deployment, and their return, especially if injured physically or psychologically. Through an analysis of online message boards, military documents, and email interviews Wendy Christensen examines the gendered civic engagement of military mothers. Norms related to gender and patriotism encourage mothers to identify with and fiercely support the U.S. military, as well as the wars their children are ordered to fight. The rich ethnography deftly portrays the emotions of the homefront and the unpaid labor required to support troops. Mothers of the Military: Support and Politics during Wartime demonstrates how carework is translated into supplying the next generation of soldiers, coopted as support for military missions, and can also compel critiques of the Department of Veterans Affairs.— Lisa Leitz, chair of Peace Studies, associate professor of Sociology at Chapman University; author of Fighting for Peace: Veterans and Military Families in the Anti-Iraq War Movement
- Follows 70 mothers of service members through their entire experience of war (recruitment, deployment, and post-deployment healthcare).
- Includes an analysis of how the military targets mothers for recruitment, and how mothers’ concerns are managed during the recruitment process.
- Details the invisible work that mothers do to support service members both during and after deployment.
- Makes visible the stress and anxiety associated with having a child deployed.
- Analyzes mother’s online support groups and examines how social media contributes to support networks during wartime.
- Includes military mothers’ criticisms of the post-deployment healthcare system, including how the VA deals with physical and mental injuries, inadequate PTSD care, and suicide prevention.
- Shows how women (as mothers) are marginalized from participating in politics, especially during wartime, and how they resist that to claim political authority.