Emotion matters Emotion management in Swedish Peace Support Operations

Detta är en avhandling från Karlstad : Karlstads universitet

Sammanfattning: The thesis makes an overall contribution to the qualitative research on soldiers’ experiences from service primarily in low-intensity mission areas, this operational environment being placed within a framework of emotion sociology. The central argument put forward states that even on this type of mission the emotional demands are considerable, and that the need for emotional management in Peace Support Operations (PSO) should therefore generally follow other demarcations than the formal military divisions of high and low intensity conflicts respectively. In contrast to the prevalent view stating that the successful soldier is someone with emotional control in the sense that he ‘lacks’ feeling towards what he is doing, this thesis argues that soldiers’ emotion management work when choosing, modelling, managing, and displaying the ‘right’ emotional expression is what it takes to get the job done. Further, the thesis argues that emotion management demands are not restricted to the tour of service. Returning home often involves feeling both cognitively and emotionally disorientated, even if the mission has been militarily quite uneventful. A new theoretical concept, Post-Deployment Disorientation (PDD), is introduced to explain and highlight the origin of these feelings. PDD is not a diagnosis, however, but a term reserved for a phenomenon invisible in statistics that likely confronts the majority of Swedish soldiers on return.The thesis comprises four essays and draws on qualitative data collected mainly from soldiers deployed to Kosovo and Liberia in 2006/2007. Two of the essays also include data from Afghanistan. Jointly, the four essays help us understand that from an emotion management perspective, serving abroad is both a varied and challenging experience. Nevertheless, the informants seem to muddle through many difficulties and the study broadly confirms Bolton’s (2005) accounts of the multi-talented emotional actor, who is quite capable of handling contradiction while negotiating feeling rules. However, this does not mean an adjustment with negligible effort or without substantial emotional costs.