Regulation of Bodies as Gendered Nationalistic Ideology: Physically Wounded Veterans as Political Props
MetadataShow full item record
Using the 2014 State of the Union Address as an example, I show that the public honoring of physically wounded veterans hides the emotional, psychological, social, and moral wounds of military service, creating a normative veteran identity based on mental toughness, and essentializes all veterans as honorable by default. Using Michel Foucault’s notion of Panopticism from <i>Discipline and Punish</i>, I argue that this unquestioned heroism of the veteran disciplines the nation, disengages the population from involvement, and enables unchecked, perpetual war. In response, I propose that we avoid thanking veterans publicly and abstractly, instead approaching each and every veteran personally in full recognition of their unique set of relations. This would improve veteran reintegration, politically engage the population in discourse regarding military conflict, and ultimately serve as a check on the use of state violence.