Experimental Methods in Military and Veteran Studies

Authored by: Jeremy M. Teigen

Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Military Studies

Print publication date:  June  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415635332
eBook ISBN: 9780203093801
Adobe ISBN: 9781136203312


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Few governmental policies touch the lives of citizens more vividly than conscription. Compulsory induction into a country’s military means that individuals face the possibility of being taken out of their community or country, placed within a new hierarchy with different rules and norms than civilian life, possibly placed into dangerous combat duty, and must remain for an extended period of time, often more than a year. Only incarceration and taxation are in the same league as conscription in terms of how citizens’ fates can be controlled by a government, even in democratic regimes. Does the possibility of being conscripted during a war influence citizens’ attitudes about government? Foreign policy? Political preferences? Erikson and Stoker’s article “Caught in the Draft,” published in 2011 in the leading political science journal American Political Science Review, examines these questions using an experimental methodology. They exploit the natural conditions of the draft in the United States in 1969 during the Vietnam War to understand how vulnerability to conscription as a young adult influenced later-life political attitudes.

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