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Grant number like: FA-50556-04

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Beth Bailey
Temple University (Philadelphia, PA 19122-6003)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage][Prizes]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2005 – 6/30/2006

To Be All That You Can Be: Recruiting the All Volunteer Military

"To Be All That You Can Be" is a cultural and social history of military recruiting campaigns since 1973, when the U.S. moved to an all-volunteer military. With the end of the draft, the military was forced to develop new recruiting strategies, including high-budget, sophisticated advertising campaigns, and to broaden its definition of potential recruits and of who "belongs" in the military. As the military has navigated the complexities of recruiting from an increasingly diverse population, it has used such advertising campaigns to appeal to women and to men of color; in so doing the armed forces have had had to represent a military--and a nation--in which these Americans belong. By analyzing these advertising campaigns in the context of military and governmental debates about personnel needs and recruiting tactics, I will demonstrate how the military has, in its recruiting efforts, portrayed and helped construct changing understandings of race, ethnicity, gender, and class in American society. In addition, by investigating the implicit contracts offered in these advertising campaigns both to potential recruits and to the public, my work will explain one way ideas about citizenship, patriotism, and obligation have been given shape in recent American culture. Finally, by analyzing the ways the military has tried to market itself to potential recruits and to the American public at large, my work will increase our understandings of the changing meaning of the military and of military service in the U.S. since the Vietnam War. We need, as scholars and as citizens, to understand more about the role the powerful institution of the U.S. military plays in creating social and cultural change and in shaping our ideas about issues ranging from race and gender to patriotism and the meaning of citizenship.