“Comradeship” in the Habsburg Army during World War One. the Sociology of Emotions Perspective

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:45
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sabine HARING, Department of Sociology, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria
“Comradeship” in the Habsburg Army during World War One. The Sociology of Emotions Perspective

Collective violence, in particular violence in war, is still underrepresented in the sociological view. The same goes, with few exceptions, for the sociology of emotions. What people (mostly men) emotionally experience as members of military collectives in peace and war is, strangely enough, only rarely the subject of closer scrutiny. In our days it is commonly understood that soldiers fight for a national goal, or at least driven by patriotic motivations. But in close combat these goals were much too abstract and too far away. Rather, one was fighting for the comrades lying next to oneself in the trench, and for the regiment´s honour. Particularly important were also the emotional ties to the comrades in the military units; often comradeship is mentioned as the only “positive” experience during the respective missions.

In my paper I would like to shed light on comradeship from the point of view of actors that is, in my analysis, from the point of view of k.u.k soldiers serving during World War I. In particular I want to focus on comradeship under the sociology of an emotions point of view. Which emotions are constitutive for “comradeship”? What was the importance of emotions such as shame, sympathy, compassion and revenge regarding the bond of affection between soldiers of the Habsburg Army during World War I? Which role did comradeship play during attacks and particulary in regard to the escalation of violence at the front?