The role of historical experiences in determining cultural preferences for domestic military deployments in Britain and France

Harding, Jack (2021) The role of historical experiences in determining cultural preferences for domestic military deployments in Britain and France. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the role of historical experiences in guiding cultural preferences for the use of the armed forces for maintaining domestic security in Britain and France. It finds that in recent years the level of threat from Islamist terrorism faced by both states has been comparable and yet two distinct sets of strategic preferences for the use of the armed forces domestically have emerged. To understand these differences this thesis poses three core questions: first, do Britain and France’s cultural preferences for acceptance or rejection of domestic military deployments derive from the perception of the national historical experience? Second, do these cultural preferences have a constraining effect on strategic behaviour? And third, if evidence of historically-derived cultural constraint can be found, what accounts for episodes of change in strategy over time?

It hypothesises that these preferences stem from their respective strategic cultures. These strategic cultures have been cultivated through a series of ‘formative moments’ in their past which constrain their behaviour in the present. Changes in strategy will occur in the event of a receptive cultural environment and a strong leader and institutions who are capable of enacting change. However, enduring cultural preferences will always be evident in strategic behaviour. This thesis addresses the subject through a unique methodology that combines qualitative and quantitative techniques.

First by charting all significant domestic deployments between 1800 and 2019 and coding each deployment according to its purpose, it seeks to identify the ‘formative moments’ in Britain and France’s past that may be guiding their cultural preferences. Then, over a thousand speeches and statements from British and French policymakers at each formative moment are analysed and compared in order to trace enduring cultural preferences for the use of the armed forces domestically over time.

Ultimately, the purpose of this thesis is to understand the nexus between history, culture, and behaviour and its constancy or temporality over time. After all, if the trend in the modern era towards deploying the military on the national territory to fulfil a wide variety of tasks continues, it will be essential to understand the cultural sensitives attached to domestic deployments and the conditions under which they may be deemed acceptable.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Britain, France, domestic military deployments, strategic culture, Operation Temperer, Operation Sentinelle, counter-terrorism.
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DC France
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Heuser, Professor Beatrice and Jackson, Professor Peter
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Mr. Jack Harding
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82152
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 May 2021 13:34
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2021 15:15
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82152

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