The Impact of Sociological Research on the Military
In spite of the vast literature on military sociology and of the increasingly reflexive mood in the methodological and epistemological assessments of this field of study, reflections on how military institutions deal with the fact that they are the object of social scientists' research remain infrequent. This panel proposes to address this rather unexplored topic by putting forward the following questions: What impact does sociological research have on the military? What kind of appropriation or resistance does that relationship entail? What are the military's views on the research social scientists conduct on them?
Such questions apply to both 'external' research, that is, research conducted by social scientists with no formal ties to the institutions, and to 'native' researchers, formally linked to them. They also apply to both independent or contract research. Thus, we invite paper proposals that address these questions and analyze concrete empirical case studies.
The panel proposal follows a series of methodological discussions initiated in the past two world congresses of Sociology: Gothenburg (2010) - on research methods - and Yokohama (2014) - on the experience of researchers and reflexivity in military studies. The selected contributions to the present panel are expected to strengthen reflexivity in the social scientific study of the military, but also to advance policies aimed at improving the relevance of knowledge in decision-making concerning military and defense related issues.