This book has two main aims: firstly, to provide a rare, detailed description of the use of a psychoanalytically informed, reflexive research method to achieve an in-depth understanding of social phenomena; and secondly, to throw some much needed light onto the complex, intrapsychic and interpersonal influences that impact upon "military wives" who accompany members of the British Armed Forces to postings overseas. These arguments are particularly relevant at a time when the military is over-stretched, given that unhappy wives can adversely affect the retention of servicemen. This is an important contribution to the on-going development of psycho-social studies.
Stressing the "both/and" nature of psycho-social research, the book demonstrates that utilizing psychoanalytic and sociological theories as complementary frameworks of understanding can enable researchers to discover aspects of human experience that ordinarily remain outside conscious awareness.
The book describes the personal losses that the wives of service personnel commonly sustain each time they relocate, which inevitably evoke mourning, depressive anxiety and related defences. In addition, wives' unwitting collusion with the patriarchal military institution, which fails to recognize them as individuals, further undermines their identities. These largely unconscious emotional upheavals have potentially profound consequences, both for servicemen's wives and for the military itself. The book recommends various policy changes that would result in wives' losses becoming better recognized, enabling them to be "worked through" more quickly.
‘There is a dearth of research into the impact of the mobile military lifestyle on family members and Sue Jervis’ work provides an important and, to our knowledge, unique insight into this issue. The RAF Families Federation welcomes such research. Every partner of a Serviceperson, who has ever experienced relocation in support of their uniformed partner, will recognize some, if not all, of the emotions Sue’s work describes. The experiences of the Service wives described in this work will resonate with many in similar circumstances and help them realize they are not alone in facing the challenges that relocation can present. If the Armed Forces choose to respond to Sue’s recommendations in terms of recognizing the impact of mobility on the wider family, her work will make a significant contribution towards enhancing the welfare of Service partners and modernizing the relationship between the military and the network of wives and partners, many of whom make a hidden but absolutely vital contribution to operational effectiveness.’
- Dawn McCafferty, Chair of the RAF Families Federation
‘This book provides a detailed account of all aspects of a psycho-social research project that will be of interest to students of psycho-social studies; sociologists concerned with gender, emotions, relocation or military sociology; counsellors and psychotherapists interested in the impact of social context on an individual’s state of mind; and, finally, anyone involved in policies relating to the welfare of military families or the retention and efficiency of military personnel. Clearly written, with many examples, this book is a “must” for anyone interested in the psychodynamics of large-scale institutions.’
- Professor Simon Clarke, the University of the West of England
Notes about the author(s):
Dr Sue Jervis originally worked as a civil servant before changing careers to become a psychodynamic counsellor. Her career within the counselling field was disrupted some years ago when she accompanied her husband, a Naval Officer, on his first overseas postings. Since then, she has become a psycho-social researcher.
--- from the publisher