Wartorn Britain: How do former British armed forces personnel locate stateviolence within their personal lived experience?

  • Michael Bluett

Student thesis: Master of Philosophy


In my thesis film and text I explore how former British armed forces personnel locate state violence within their personal lived experience 2013. The film takes its title from the general condition of a nation that is constantly at war, producing and exporting state violence. In the film, this collective condition is explored through a portrait of one veteran of the recent Iraq war, now returned to his home in Blackpool. We see how he locates past experiences of violence and follow him through intimate settings with family and friends, as well as public settings, where veterans and the military are honoured and celebrated. These scenes provide insight into how violence is remembered, forgotten and denied in personal and public spaces and the ambiguous combination of complementarity and tension between the personal and the collective relationship to state violence in Blackpool. Whilst an individual may identify with the dominant collective discourse, at the same time they can express a variety of views directly related to their own experiences. There are several possible emotional reactions to situations of state violence, which may be held contemporaneously. Some emotional reactions may be seen as an attempt to seek balance in their emotional state and in relations with others. To relate to the other with remorse or love on a human level can balance othering practices of hating and creating monsters.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorPaul Henley (Supervisor) & Anthony Simpson (Supervisor)


  • violence, military, memory, memorialisation, othering, wartorn britain, British

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