Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Equipoise and Equanimity: Negotiating Balance and Belonging after Life in the Marines
by Webb, Adrian Samuel, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2020, 71; 27735444
Abstract (Summary)

There is a significant lack of research on veterans’ reintegration into civilian life, especially after the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq wars, concerning identity loss and crisis from transition. The purpose of this project, which includes the film Keep Fighting, is to examine the role of mixed martial arts in the lives of Marine Corps Veterans as a transitional vehicle to civilian life, as it relates to building a community, a sense of belonging, and reconstructing their identities as Marines in civilian society. Many male Marines have a predisposition towards exaggerated or idealized forms of masculinity (what is sometimes called “hypermasculinity”) that are encouraged by the Marine Corps, and this can be extremely alienating when Marines return to civilian life. Behaviors associated with hypermasculinity are a critical component of successful socialization of Marines in the Marine Corps culture and are fostered through formation and exhibition of aggression and discipline. In addition to reintegrating Marines’ back into social support systems such as communities and families, part of many male Marines' reintegration processes is finding a healthy way of expressing their masculinity within a civilian world that often conflates aggression and goal focused stoicism, that is the disposition to disregard the emotional aspects of accomplishing tasks or competing as toxic masculinity. This study proposes that martial arts may be one healthy avenue for Marines to articulate their hypermasculinity after they become civilians. This project is an attempt to illuminate a path of reintegration that looks to incorporate, instead of seeking to rehabilitate, a select veteran community through the same prism of hypermasculine social behaviors that were encouraged during their period of enlistment. I will use ethnographic film to explore how specific constructions of hypermasculine identity and community affect the individuals’ lives after the Marines. This will focus on those who participate in Sub-Fighter’s mixed martial arts program.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rousso-Schindler, Steven
Commitee: Wilson, Robert Scott, Bollelli, Daniele
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/9(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Gender studies, Behavioral Sciences, Military studies
Keywords: hypermasculinity, martial arts, reintegration, socialization, transition, violence
Publication Number: 27735444
ISBN: 9781658444415
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