Advancing an understanding of the body amid transition from a military life

J.M. Grimell, Mariecke van den Berg

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In this article, we explore the process of transitions from a military life to a civilian life. Making use of the concepts offered by Dialogical Self Theory, we explore how individuals negotiate the acquisition of new, civilian identities by integrating different, sometimes conflicting, cultural I-positions. Moreover, in this article, we explore how this narrative process is reflected through embodied processes of becoming civilian. We do so by presenting an in-depth analysis of two case studies: that of former Lieutenant Peter, who fully transitions to civilian life, and of Sergeant Emma, who opts for a hybrid outcome, combining a civilian job with working as an instructor in the military. We will argue that the narrative and embodied process of transition are intertwined in self-identity work, and that attention to the specifics of this entanglement can be useful for professionals who counsel military personnel who transition to civilian life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-210
Number of pages23
JournalCulture and Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date4 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • Veterans
  • body
  • dialogical self
  • identity
  • military
  • transition


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