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Figuring ViolenceAffective Investments in Perpetual War$
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Rebecca A. Adelman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823281671

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823281671.001.0001

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Recognizing Military Wives

Recognizing Military Wives

(p.88) Chapter 3 Recognizing Military Wives
Figuring Violence

Rebecca A. Adelman

Fordham University Press

The materials analyzed in this chapter illuminate the paradoxical combination of public recognition and state neglect of military spouses, who receive contingent visibility as a function of their proximity to suffering, along with a chronic suspicion about their reliability. To contextualize the figuring of the military spouse, the chapter begins with two key histories: that of women’s militarization during the War on Terror and that of the U.S. military’s approach to military wives. Affective investments in military spouses (read: wives) are made explicit in presidential proclamations of appreciation for military spouses and their sacrifice, the first objects of analysis here. Operational Security materials, the second, reveal the other side of official regard for military spouses, which identifies them as vital but weak links in national security. Conversely, the American Widow Project, a network organized and maintained by military widows, offers an alternative to these official discourses, recognizing widows’ sacrifices but also embracing a vision of widowhood that is independent and pleasure-seeking, and the chapter’s penultimate section analyzes their work. The chapter concludes with a consideration of military spouse PTSD, an emerging line of inquiry that simultaneously maps and submerges the subject-position of the military spouse.

Keywords:   American Widow Project, gender, military spouses, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, military widows, OPSEC (operational security), PTSD, security moms, suffering

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