“Different Drummers awakens readers to the rich potential of folklore scholarship when applied to the global concerns of combat, soldiering, PTSD, veterans’ life after war, and more. Veterans and members of their internet networks will discover a lot of value and personal meaning in these stories.”
—Suzanne MacAuley, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Different Drummers explores the disjunction between organizational solidarity and individual pushback in military organizations, examining how members of the armed forces express ambivalent attitudes about their service. The volume focuses not on antimilitary sentiment but on psychological complexity within a loyal opposition, considering examples of creative insubordination and analyzing the “oppositional positioning” of individuals whose military identity is conflicted.
This multidisciplinary collection brings in the perspectives of scholars from folklore, literary studies, psychology, and media studies, as well as the first-person perspectives of veterans. It includes chapters on the vernacular genres of bodylore, folksong, personal narrative, and legend; literary items like soldiers’ memoirs and poetry; the artwork of soldier cartoonists; and accounts of defying the chain of command in the field. Ideally, the goal of military basic training is to replace recruits’ focus on their own individuality with an unquestioned devotion to group solidarity. In reality, unit cohesion is constantly challenged by humans clinging obstinately to their non-collective personalities. Different Drummers focuses on those in uniform who feel themselves to be both of the military culture and at odds with it. It shows how these loyal “discontents” find ways of communicating and interacting with others that sometimes defy institutional expectations.
Ron Ben-Tovim, Carol Burke, Richard Allen Burns, Catherine Calloway, James I. Deutsch, Ronald Fry, Angus Kress Gillespie, Christina M. Knopf, Jay Mechling, Matthew David Perry, Mark C. Russell, John Paul Wallis