Academic journal article
By Siebold, Guy L
Political and Military Sociology , Vol. 29, No. 1
CORE ISSUES AND THEORY IN MILITARY SOCIOLOGY1
The military has been a fertile source of data to address broad sociological theories and problems that cut across several areas of inquiry. Research on the military has contributed to attitude research, small groups, race relations, social change, the family, professions, and political economy. However, missing is a generally accepted core to military sociology, ie., central issues and theory. This core must be identified and researched so that findings can be accumulated and the field can contribute fully to sociology. Candidate issue areas are: (a) the ethos of the military profession, (b) the military as an institution and organization, (c) civil-military relations, and (d) military relations with other governmental agencies and militaries. These issue areas require clarification and more articulated theories that are addressed by empirical research.
The purpose of this article is to push towards a theoretical and issue-driven center for the sub-field of military sociology. The fear is that without such a center, the sub-field will dissipate when its current leaders retire, as less funding and recognition are available, and as fewer and fewer sociologists have enough experience with the military to adequately define the scope of pertinent research. The importance of maintaining a thriving sub-field of military sociology is due to the centrality of the military to any society and that society's long-term viability and to the unique characteristics of the military derived from its function and technology. In short, the scientific study of society, i.e., sociology, would be grossly incomplete without incorporating the study of the military. The definition of the military in this article is a formally organized entity or set of entities responsive to the governmental leaders heading a nation state (or equivalent government) and whose functions concern the use of arms to defend that nation state or to further its policies in its relations with other nation states or large collective entities. Included in the definition would be (in the United States) Reserve and National Guard Components, the Coast Guard, international military coalitions and task forces such as NATO and United Nations commands, independent support organizations such as the Association of the U.S. Army, and military veterans associations. Not within the scope, but not irrelevant, are other organized entities, more or less under arms, such as police forces, private security organizations, local militias not controlled by the federal government, special enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fire Arms, and mercenary groups.
MILITARY SOCIOLOGY AND ITS COMPONENT AREAS
While sociological analysis of the military has been around for some time (e.g., Durkheim, 1897/1951), military sociology is primarily an outgrowth of World War II (Coates and Pellegrin, 1965) and the subsequent Cold War. Its defining first books were The American Soldier (Stouffer et al., 1949-1950), The Soldier and the State (Huntington, 1957), The Professional Soldier (Janowitz, 1960), and The American Enlisted Man (Moskos, 1970). The first major textbook focused on the sub-field was a Universityof-Maryland-based work titled, Military Sociology: A Study of American Military Institutions and Military Life (Coates and Pellegrin, 1965).
In all, military sociology dealt with a large number of topics as it expanded from its World War II beginnings. This can be seen in the wide array of journal articles (see Ender, 1999 and Siebold, 1973), the formation of associations such as the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society in 1961 under the leadership of Morris Janowitz, specialized journals such as the Journal of Political and Military Sociology in 1973 and Armed Forces and Society in 1974, and academic clusters such as the Center for Research on Military Organization, formally started in 1995 at the University of Maryland under the leadership of David Segal. …