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Fostering dissent, critical consciousness, and transformation: dialogues and journals on the U.S. military

Dell'Orso, Ashley Ann Beatrice (2018) Fostering dissent, critical consciousness, and transformation: dialogues and journals on the U.S. military. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Dissent and critical consciousness are imperative components for a group dialogue to be transformative. However, because of the continued militarization of the United States and its culture of violence, critical dialogue about the military is often taboo and discouraged. This case study aimed to foster dissent, critical consciousness, and transformation among participants in the face of ongoing violence and militarization. The study’s literature review and theoretical framework informed the historical-cultural background of the study’s significance, the facilitation and participation guidelines necessary for a critical, transformative dialogue, and the possibilities of dialogue for social change. I collected data from three critical dialogue sessions and six journal prompts with a small group of U.S. military veteran participants. I facilitated dialogues with the participants about topics related to the U.S. military that participants were interested in based on contention. To analyze the collected data, I used qualitative data analysis. I found that the connection and identity of the dialogue group changed from the start to the conclusion of the study. The two main topics we discussed were: (1) expressions of patriotism and (2) gender, violence, and the military “hero.” Early on, some participants exhibited militaristic core beliefs and problematic communication practices when sharing reflections on their personal military experiences and arguing their points. Eventually, all participants engaged critically, compassionately, and displayed shifts in behaviors and thinking. Participants welcomed dissent, built upon a collective consciousness, and made possible transformation within each other as well as inspired possibilities for social action. This study adds to literature on dialogue and the culture of violence because it engages participants in a process important to social change and directly brings into question the institution of the military. The research elucidates the significance of dialogue in relation to sustainable communities, especially about contentious issues related to the powerful and destructive institutions and systems in place. Finally, in this study I ask new questions about how dialogue may reinforce the status quo and how demilitarization efforts can be situated among other movements towards equity, justice, and liberation.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Critical Consciousness; Critical Dialogue; Demilitarization; Dissent; Transformation; U.S. Military
Subjects: J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Sustainable Communities
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2021 17:16
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5420

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