Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Victor Turner and the theatre of war: A reflection on the value of Psyops, culture and performance during conflict

Troselj, Ivana (2011) Victor Turner and the theatre of war: A reflection on the value of Psyops, culture and performance during conflict. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

[img]
Preview
PDF - Front Pages
Download (659kB)
[img]
Preview
PDF - Whole Thesis
Download (2MB)

Abstract

Conventional 'force-on-force' warfare is a thing of the past (Kilcullen 2009: 292). Much has changed in the conduct of war since Carl von Clausewitz's opus on War (Clausewitz 1997) was first published in 1832; the ongoing digitisation of the contemporary battlefield promises swifter and more intense battle at a lower cost-to-combat ratio (Goldenstein and Jacobwitz 1996: 10); while a rise in low-intensity and insurgent war is anticipated to continue within the developing world (McLaughlin 1989: 1-2). The only thing one may say with any certainty about the future of warfare is the diverse nature of its conduct (Black 2001: 82); an the enduringly psychological nature of all kinds of human conflict (Paddock 1996: 33).

Despite this, contemporary Western militaries continually re-enact the principles of conventional war; even where unsuited, while the psychological dimension of war is often the least appreciated and engaged (Stillwell 1996: 319), even though it is 'human' forces that provide conflict with its many variables (Leonhard 2000: 209-2011). A misunderstanding of these forces has resulted in a shortfall of resourcing, continuity and training for Psychological Operations (Psyops) (Paddock 1996: 34); while appreciation for the soft power of Psyops and the human elements of war have been diminished by an empirical, neo-Clausewitzian strategic framework (Van Crevald 1991: 148-149) and a particularly Western and Postmodern notion of Technological Determinism (Black 2001: 97). I believe that importing Victor Turner's performance theory into existing military doctrines will provide a useful heuristic model for working with these problems, because of its unique perspective on the dramatic power of symbol, performance and conflict; and I believe that this will further enhance the military's understanding and appreciation of Psyops' unique capabilities, along with the more human elements of warfare; while supplying a much-needed process-oriented understanding of human culture and conflict at strategic level.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Supervisor(s): Grehan, Helena
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/7375
Item Control Page Item Control Page

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year