Under the mountain : basic training, individuality, & comradeship

Clark, Samuel (2013) Under the mountain : basic training, individuality, & comradeship. Res Publica, 19 (1). pp. 67-79. ISSN 1572-8692

[thumbnail of Under the Mountain]
PDF (Under the Mountain)
Under_the_Mountain.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (192kB)


This paper addresses questions of friendship and political community by investigating a particular complex case, comradeship in the life of the soldier. Close attention to soldiers’ accounts of their own lives, successes and failures shows that the relationship of friendship to comradeship, and of both to the success of the soldier’s individual and communal life, is complex and tense. I focus on autobiographical accounts of basic training in order to describe, and to explore the tensions between, two positions: (1) Becoming a soldier is a corrupting loss of individuality and moral sensitivity, and friendship is resistance to it. (2) Becoming a soldier is one form of flourishing, and comradeship—the soldier’s distinctive form of friendship—is one of its constitutive virtues. I draw particularly on George Orwell’s account of basic training and fighting in the Spanish Civil War, and on Tim O’Brien’s account of basic training and fighting in Vietnam.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Res Publica
Additional Information:
The original publication is available at www.springerlink.com
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? indiviualityfriendshipcomradeshipsoldiersbasic traininggeorge orwelltim o'brienpolitics and international relationsphilosophylawhx socialism. communism. anarchismjc political theorybj ethics ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
26 Jan 2011 09:38
Last Modified:
13 Jun 2024 00:40