Enduring Military Boredom: From 1750 to the Present by Bård Mæland, Paul Otto Brunstad (auth.)

By Bård Mæland, Paul Otto Brunstad (auth.)

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Sample text

Inaction also involved indications of boredom. H. Jacobs of the 15th London Regiment, who was eager for an attack to end the unbearable stress and uncertainty of a possible bombardment. In this situation, private Jacobs used ‘weary exasperation’ to describe his state of mind, probably an indication of the irritation of boredom somehow intertwined with fear. Soldiers would choose various ways of escaping from this severe situation, which was regarded as the one that caused the most intense fear of all.

It is shown in the study how boredom could be part of a web of connected issues, such as underutilisation, cultural deprivation, lack of privacy and isolation. In general, boredom became a metaphor for the soldiers, expressing their perceived lack of control of time and space. Segal and Harris also add two general observations that they think might help to explain this understanding of boredom in a peacekeeping context. Firstly, peacekeeping is a form of low-intensity conflict, which, due to lack of experience, not least genuine military experience, may cause boredom, among other stressors, to become a potential stressor during the deployment.

This war was characterised by ‘a great deal of nothing’, where waiting ‘itself and nothing else’ came to mark the entire war atmosphere (Fussell, 1989, p. 75). ). In all this, there was an inherent attention, namely attention directed towards the future. 10 Interestingly, Woolf makes the observation that boredom was anticipated during the Second World War in the sense that they expected it to come, and that there was no way to escape it. Thus, past and future wars are connected through an expectation of boredom.

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