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Nina Harding

Doctor of Philosophy, (Arts)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
"You Bring It, We'll Bring It Out": Becoming a Soldier in the New Zealand Army

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Ms Harding explored the processes of identity acquisition in the transition from civilian to soldier. She was embedded with a cohort of new soldiers through the first year and a half of their careers in the New Zealand Army, from their first day of basic training to their first overseas deployment. Contrary to current discourse, although recruits undergo change in becoming soldiers, they simultaneously retain and reproduce their pre-service identities. A pre-existing primary identification with and hence desire for productive action and continual self-improvement is met by initial military training. However, once socialised, soldiers find military life less challenging and therefore less fulfilling. This primary identification with action, crucial to making sense of soldiers' experiences, is not one of the axes of identity on which anthropology traditionally relies, demonstrating the need to pay attention to how informants themselves understand identity and the processes of identity acquisition.

Dr Carolyn Morris
Associate Professor Jeffrey Sluka
Associate Professor Bethan Greener