“The Post-Modern Turn” of the US Military Scholars: Shallow, Adherent and Critical?

Keywords: philosophy, humanities, intellectual fashion, military disciplines, postmodern culture, deconstructivism, social constructivism

Abstract

According to historical facts, military elites were never totally separated from intellectual civil elites. From Ancient times to nowadays professional military education and personal contacts flourished due to mutual interest between these two parties. It is not easy task to define if this interaction was constructive or not for military since there is rich contradictory evidence – how stoics educated victorious Roman imperial army and how Henri Bergson’s name is associated with two military blunders of France in the both world wars, despite of heavy criticism from his civil colleagues and generals in interwar period. Thus, it is important to understand, which intellectual biases and fashion are represented in contemporary Western military periodics and academic scholarship as a mirror of contemporary military thinking. The overall trend can be defined as “postmodernist turn”, which is realized in the following three main forms: shallow, adherent and critical. The majority of military writers, being familiar with the leading civil intellectuals through their higher education in humanities and social science, apply for postmodernist agenda pursuing the general intellectual mainstream fashion, which is common for both civil and military publications. Nevertheless, in the majority of cases this happens due to shallow following mainstream narrative, not because of the personal priorities, when adherence to a specific intellectual fashion is well-grounded and clearly motivated. The same is applicable to the military criticism of postmodernism, when the critical approach refers to the deep competence in contemporary intellectual debates among civil experts. This approach mainly reproduces devastating criticism of postmodernism as relativist, a way of thinking which is not relevant to military profession. This situation can be quite fruitful both for military and civil academics: it creates perfect conditions for critical debates aimed for clearing out fashionable metaphors, popular mindsets and elements of narrative, where pure theoretic structures can face the trial of practitioners, whose professional decisions are extremely responsible for safety of human lives and national security. Anyway, the internal opposition to the supporters of postmodernism in military sciences gives hope that it has all the chances not to become an overwhelming trend in military scholarship.

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Published
2018-08-17
How to Cite
Loboda, Y. O. (2018). “The Post-Modern Turn” of the US Military Scholars: Shallow, Adherent and Critical?. Grani, 21(7), 77-83. https://doi.org/10.15421/171897
Section
Article