Militarisation in everyday life in the UK

An information-sharing and networking event

See here for a reading list of
background articles

See here for videos of 12 presentations 
that were made at the conference

Saturday 19 October at Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ.

This event brought together academics, writers, activists and campaigners who are researching, writing, campaigning on, or just concerned about the implications of the militarisation of everyday life in the UK.

Many areas of society in the UK have seen a growing involvement and/or visibility of the military over recent years - from the growing influence of the military and military approaches in schools, to greater presence and privileging of the military in local communities. In response, there has been a corresponding increase in academic studies, media coverage, and work by campaigning organisations and others on this.

In Globalisation and Militarism, Cynthia Enloe, one of the foremost thinkers and writers in this area, states that, ‘To become militarized is to adopt militaristic values and priorities as one's own, to see military solutions as particularly effective, to see the world as a dangerous place best approached with militaristic attitudes.’ This event will explore the process and outcomes of militarisation, focusing on recent developments in the UK and how it is experienced in the everyday life of individuals and communities.

Through a series of plenary presentations and discussions and smaller group discussions, participants will share their knowledge and experience on some of the key topics. We hope to develop ideas on how to raise public debate and encourage critical thinking on this issue, as well as how to better enable academics and activists to share their work.

The event has been organised by ForcesWatch with the help of an external organising committee. It is financially supported by Quaker Peace and Social Witness and The Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust.

Outline of the programme

  • Introductory plenary with presentations on 'Looking at everyday militarisation', 'Militarism in context – the current policy framework' and 'What we want to get out of the day'.
  • Presentations and group discussions on ‘Militarisation and the individual’ will explore issues such as the military involvement in young people’s lives; being in the military and life afterwards; military values and diversity, representations of the military; masculinity and women in the military; the militarised body.
  • Presentations and group discussions on ‘Militarisation and the community’ will explore issues such as military/civilians partnerships and covenants; militarised localities and communities; military involvement in civil society; militainment, culture and ceremony; and political and social responses to veterans.
  • The final plenary will be on ‘Working together to raise awareness and take action’, with a number of short contributions followed by general discussion on ways forward.



Presentations made include:

Diana Francis: writer and conflict transformation/peacebuilding trainer and consultant, currently focused on demilitarisation and the development of a radically new approach to international relations

Bryan Mabee: Senior Lecturer, Politics and International Studies, Queen Mary University London, author of Understanding American Power: The Changing World of US Foreign Policy (Palgrave MacMillan, Oct 2013).

Victoria Basham: Senior Lecturer, Politics, University of Exeter, author of War, Identity and the Liberal State: Everyday Experiences of the Geopolitical in the Armed Forces (Routledge, 2013).

Vron Ware: Research Fellow, Sociology, Open University, author of Military Migrants. Fighting for YOUR Country (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and the Up in Arms blog on Open Democracy

Kevin McSorley: Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Portsmouth and author of War and the Body: Militarisation, Practice and Experience (Routledge, 2012)

Sian Jones: feminist nonviolence antimilitarist activist with Women in Black

Chris Rossdale: City University London, focusing on the politics of security and the politics and philosophy of resistance

Daniel Bos: doctoral student at Newcastle University, examining the popular geopolitics of military video games

Sarah Bulmer: University of Exeter

Ann Feltham: Parliamentary Officer, Campaign Against the Arms Trade

Shahrar Ali, Green Party spokesperson on International Affairs

Saskia Neibig, Woodcraft Folk

David Gee: works with ForcesWatch and author of Holding faith: creating peace in a violent world (Quaker Books, 2011) 

Emma Sangster, ForcesWatch Coordinator