More-Than-Human Emotional Communities: British Soldiers and Mules in Second World War Burma

Thomas Webb, Chris Pearson, Penny Summerfield, Mark Riley

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Abstract

This article offers a perspective on the overlooked ‘more-than-human’ emotional dimensions of the British war effort of 1939 to 1945. We focus on the relationships between British soldiers and their mules in Burma. We argue that the British soldiers who were required to become muleteers, together with their officers and veterinary personnel, formed an ‘emotional community’ (Rosenwein), based on a shared idea of a close and mutually beneficial relationship between men and mules. The soldiers’ ability to connect emotionally with mules helped bind the community together, but the material circumstances of jungle warfare constantly threatened the viability of those bonds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalCultural and Social History
Early online date16 Apr 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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