Military Recruitment, Work & Culture in the South Wales Valleys
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
This article explores how social and cultural life in the south Wales valleys, an area of economic deprivation within Britain, has been shaped by the British military and militarism, in ways that are both specific to the area and shared with other regions throughout the country.
In particular, it argues that the convergence of several factors – including the processes of Welsh devolution and Welsh nationalism, the rise of the US-led war on global terror, the efforts of the British government to reshape civilian-military relations in the country, as well as the continuing economic struggles of the south Wales valleys themselves – has led to a resurgence of military presence and militarism in the region over the past decade.
The article focuses on the ethical dilemmas of military recruitment in areas of economic deprivation. It also contributes to the literature on the everyday geographies of militarisation and militarism, a literature that argues that we can only understand how militarism is structured and rooted in the broader fabric of national society and economy if we examine closely how it is differentially embedded within and shaped by a myriad of social relationships and institutions at the local and regional level.