Published October 31, 2018 | Version v1
Journal article Open

'Unique Adequacy' in Studies of the Military, Militarism and Militarisation

  • 1. Newcastle University)


This paper addresses the relative lack of studies of military phenomena by ethnonmethdology and conversation analysis (EMCA). It focuses in particular on Garfinkel’s unique adequacy requirement of methods – the utility of which is argued still remains - and addresses the perceived (and actual) limitations of a researcher’s absence of first-hand ‘military’ experience may raise. It argues ‘limitations’ can potentially be addressed through reflection upon what constitutes a military phenomenon and what corresponding uniquely adequate familiarity the researcher therefore may have. When issues of correspondence still remain, it is suggested (and illustrated) that creative EMCA methodologies can frequently overcome them through the judicious use of various data collection practices and analysis in light of that assessment.

The ultimate aim of this paper is to suggest ways of opening-up to greater ethnomethodological
scrutiny under-researched phenomena of military, militarism
and militarisation practice. An important additional aim is to illustrate that methodological
attention to ‘unique adequacy’ can usefully be deployed in the research
design of non-ethnomethodological formal analytic studies of military phenomena
(and indeed non-military phenomena): Critical Military Studies is used as perspicuous
example of this.


+ Sprache: eng



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