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From Prowar Soldier to Antiwar Activist: Change and Continuity in the Narratives of Political Conversion among Iraq War Veterans

Research paper by David Flores

Indexed on: 22 Apr '16Published on: 21 Apr '16Published in: Symbolic Interaction



Abstract

This study examines conversion narratives of Iraq War military veterans who have become antiwar political activists. I examine how antiwar veterans construct and emplot prewar, wartime, and postwar narrative periods to shape and reclaim their moral identities as patriots fighting for a just cause, and how through a communal antiwar story they work to both challenge and reappropriate the rhetorical framework they associate with justifications for the invasion of Iraq. The study draws on in‐depth interviews with forty members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). In sum, the research describes how veterans engage with dominant narratives, shape new moral identities, and transition from soldiers to political activists.