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This paper aims to describe, analyze and explain British military graffiti (“latrinalia”) in ablutions blocks in two operational camps in the 1970s. This material was…
This paper aims to describe, analyze and explain British military graffiti (“latrinalia”) in ablutions blocks in two operational camps in the 1970s. This material was chosen for two reasons: first, it allowed the researcher to approach what the soldiers were thinking about and sharing in an unofficial context; second, such material is not represented in the scholarly literature on the British army. The aim of the research was, therefore, to explore a regularly occurring but under-researched field of British army organizational culture.
Latrinalia from one operational base was recorded and analyzed by quantity and type into a typology that emerged from the data. From this analysis, areas in which the graffiti authors were preoccupied were deduced. These graffiti were compared with similar material recorded from a different unit (with no personnel in common with the first) in the same context, two years later.
There was extensive common ground between the two sets of graffiti, particularly in the areas of identity, attitudes to the campaign, and opinions held about officers. Differences in the sets of results were explained by reference to factors external to the military campaign.
In view of the paucity of other research with which to compare, confirm or refute the findings of this study, further research on British military graffiti is needed.
It is clear that ablution graffiti/latrinalia in military units on operations provide insights into a unit’s organizational culture and matters of current concern to the soldiers. Such graffiti may, therefore, be considered as a useful ethnographic source.
There are implications for the better understanding of soldiers’ concerns on operations.
The paper approaches a hitherto unexplored aspect of the lived experience of British soldiers on operations.
The purpose of this paper is to present an insider ethnographic account of a series of social confrontations between two mutually opposed groups of officers that took…
The purpose of this paper is to present an insider ethnographic account of a series of social confrontations between two mutually opposed groups of officers that took place in an officers’ mess in a remote military garrison in the 1980s. The identity of one of these groups was expressed in a particular song that was sung frequently and noisily in the mess. The analysis of these incidents and their precursors provides an understanding of the social processes in which they were embedded, and the conclusions drawn are generalized into the wider context.
The paper is based on insider ethnography, using rich description to present the incidents and their background. Analysis is conducted using other research by the author on the organizational culture of Service officers and wider scholarship not specifically related to the Military.
The paper finds that in-groups and out-groups in joint Service populations do not necessarily run along traditional, Service, lines, and that cultural change in the groups concerned was associated with the rapid turnover of their members as they were replaced in the normal postings cycle. It demonstrates that a socially powerful shared cultural element can, if only temporarily, bring unity between rival groups. It also contributes to the scholarship on the power of song as a proclamation of group identity and the intensification of that identity.
The main strength of this paper is that it provides an insider’s view of a British military social group, which is extremely rare in the literature, describing social processes that connect to the wider scholarship on song, in-group and out-group behaviour, and cultural change.
“GIVE a dog a bad name and hang him,” is an aphorism which has been accepted for many years. But, like many other household words, it is not always true. Even if it were, the dog to be operated upon would probably prefer a gala day at his Tyburn Tree to being executed in an obscure back yard.
WE begin a new year, in which we wish good things for all who work in libraries and care for them, in circumstances which are not unpropitious. At times raven voices prophesy the doom of a profession glued to things so transitory as books are now imagined to be, by some. Indeed, so much is this a dominant fear that some librarians, to judge by their utterances, rest their hopes upon other recorded forms of knowledge‐transmission; forms which are not necessarily inimical to books but which they think in the increasing hurry of contemporary life may supersede them. These fears have not been harmful in any radical way so far, because they may have increased the librarian's interest in the ways of bringing books to people and people to books by any means which successful business firms use (for example) to advertise what they have to sell. The modern librarian becomes more and more the man of business; some feel he becomes less and less the scholar; but we suggest that this is theory with small basis in fact. Scholars are not necessarily, indeed they can rarely be, bookish recluses; nor need business men be uncultured. For men of plain commonsense there need be few ways of life that are so confined that they exclude their followers from other ways and other men's ideas and activities. And, as for the transitoriness of books and the decline of reading, we ourselves decline to acknowledge or believe in either process. Books do disappear, as individuals. It is well that they do for the primary purpose of any book is to serve this generation in which it is published; and, if there survive books that we, the posterity of our fathers, would not willingly let die, it is because the life they had when they were contemporary books is still in them. Nothing else can preserve a book as a readable influence. If this were not so every library would grow beyond the capacity of the individual or even towns to support; there would, in the world of readers, be no room for new writers and their books, and the tragedy that suggests is fantastically unimaginable. A careful study, recently made of scores of library reports for 1951–52, which it is part of our editorial duty to make, has produced the following deductions. Nearly every public library, and indeed other library, reports quite substantial increases in the use made of it; relatively few have yet installed the collections of records as alternatives to books of which so much is written; further still, where “readers” and other aids to the reading of records, films, etc., have been installed, the use of them is most modest; few librarians have a book‐fund that is adequate to present demands; fewer have staffs adequate to the demands made upon them for guidance by the advanced type of readers or for doing thoroughly the most ordinary form of book‐explanation. It is, in one sense a little depressing, but there is the challenging fact that these islands contain a greater reading population than they ever had. One has to reflect that of our fifty millions every one, including infants who have not cut their teeth, the inhabitants of asylums, the illiterate—and, alas, there are still thousands of these—and the drifters and those whose vain boast is that “they never have time to read a book”—every one of them reads six volumes a year. A further reflection is that public libraries may be the largest distributors, but there are many others and in the average town there may be a half‐dozen commercial, institutional and shop‐libraries, all distributing, for every public library. This fact is stressed by our public library spending on books last year at some two million pounds, a large sum, but only one‐tenth of the money the country spent on books. There are literally millions of book‐readers who may or may not use the public library, some of them who do not use any library but buy what they read. The real figure of the total reading of our people would probably be astronomical or, at anyrate, astonishing.
[There are thousands of lists of books on special subjects, and nothing more is attempted here than to indicate the most useful. For other lists and bibliographies, reference must be made to the works in Section I. The catalogues of special libraries and the numerous lists of books on special subjects contributed to professional magazines must also be sought for there.]
The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe the reference works useful for finding written information on the North American Indian (that is, Indians presently…
The purpose of this paper is to identify and describe the reference works useful for finding written information on the North American Indian (that is, Indians presently and in the past living in what is now the United States and Canada).