Title page for ETD etd-05092010-175043

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Bocanegra, Maria Leigh
URN etd-05092010-175043
Title The Citizen-Soldier in the American Imagination: Traces of the Myths of World War II in the "Army Strong" Recruitment Campaign
Degree Master of Arts
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Luke, Timothy W. Committee Co-Chair
Thadhani, Rupa G. Committee Co-Chair
Nelson, Scott G. Committee Member
  • Military Recruitment
  • Civic Nationalism
  • Neoliberalism
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • United States Army
  • Nation
  • World War II
  • Citizen-Soldier
  • Myth
  • United States Military
Date of Defense 2010-05-03
Availability unrestricted
The myth of the citizen-soldier resonates strongly in the American imagination and helps (re)construct America the nation. The construction of this myth in the historical context of World War II is especially prominent in contemporary American culture. The myth of the World War II citizen-soldier functions as an individualized discursive formation with specific rules of formation. I contextualize the construction of this individualized discursive formation within the historical era of World War II, and show how it excludes in direct contradiction to the ideals of civic nationalism that shaped the concept of national citizenship of that era. The United States military, which changed to an All Volunteer Force in 1973, functions as a neoliberal state apparatus in modern America. However, the United States Military still largely relies on the rules of formation and the ideals of civic nationalism in order to recruit volunteers for its forces.

Traces of the myths of World War II, particularly the myth of the citizen-soldier, can still be found in the United States Army's recruitment material in its current "Army Strong" campaign despite the contradictory ideals of civic nationalism and neoliberalism. I conduct a Critical Discourse Analysis of three recruitment television commercials from the "Army Strong" campaign aired in 2009. I explain how the United States Army uses both the ideals of civic nationalism and the characteristics of neoliberalism in order to encourage potential recruits to join its ranks.

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