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Tradition in the armed services : the game of questioning and conformity

The present of France’s armed service is one of violence evacuated into advertising commercials or nuclear deterrence. The army manages its image rather than fighting battles. But the present is already the past : the day of the hero has returned, and soldiers may once again die for France.

At the Saint-Cyr military academy, this debate between cadets dreaming of military prowess and their elders, with minds of managers rather than of heroes, has gone on for time immemorial. It is expressed in the symbolic language of traditions. Decoding this language provides access to a « dialectic of questioning and conformity » that opposes cadets to estabfished officers, custom to bureaucracy, and the « aristocracy » of military prowess to doctrinaire rationalism.

The case of Saint-Cyr has a more general significance. Military men are not silent. They play endlessly with their traditions and with the symbolic language those traditions offer to them, whether to impose conformity or to express differences and even opposition to the system that the climate of the day prevents them from admitting openly.

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Référence électonique : André THIÉBLEMONT, "Tradition in the armed services : the game of questioning and conformity", Pouvoirs, revue française d’études constitutionnelles et politiques, n°38, 38 - L’armée, p.99-112 . Consulté le 2019-09-16 04:46:35 . URL : https://revue-pouvoirs.fr/Tradition-in-the-armed-services.html