«Front» and «backstage» of military profession: social cultural analysis

«Front» and «backstage» of military profession:
social cultural analysis

Surkova I.Yu.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Associate Prof., Prof. of the Personnel Management Department of the Povolzhsky Institute of Management named after P. A. Stolypin, Branch of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Saratov, Russia irina_surkova@mail.ru

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For citation:

Surkova I.Yu. «Front» and «backstage» of military profession: social cultural analysis. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2015. No 6. P. 133-139


The paper analyzes professionalism in everyday culture of Russian servicemen. Using conception of dramaturgical sociology, ‘front’ and ‘backstage’ practices are looked into, as well as ‘stage decorations’ related to status symbols of military profession. The adaptation of fresh recruits to the space-time borders of the army’s “total institution” occurs through the acceptance of legitimately established norms and rules of this military organization, and the non-normative forms are invested with traditions and rituals of festive and everyday life. The rigid formal frameworks of military service are the way to daily form the culture of military personnel. This normalization is, however, broken regularly, allowing the development of informal attributes in the military’s professionalism. In a traditional view army service is seen as an attribute of masculinity; it’s a necessary initiation for a boy’s transition to man status. Soldiers and cadets reproduce patterns of male society, assuming aggressive behavior, strict discipline, and domination of a masculine culture of «the real servicemen». The purpose of this article is a socio-cultural analysis of the professionalism’s attributes in daily culture of the current Russian military personnel. We use results of biographic interviews with the military personnel (N = 60–45 men, 15 women, 2010–2013), based on the life-events revealing main attributes of identification of army professionalism.

civil-military relations; army; military personnel; professionalism
Content No 6, 2015