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FrontlineCombat and Cohesion in Twenty-First Century$
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Anthony King

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719663

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719663.001.0001

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New Model Diggers

New Model Diggers

Australian Identity, Motivation, and Cohesion in Afghanistan

(p.166) (p.167) 8 New Model Diggers

Garth Pratten

Oxford University Press

The figure of the ‘digger’—the nickname originally given to Australian soldiers in the First World War—is a potent symbol in Australian society. The supposed values of those first diggers—courage, endurance, mateship, irreverence, and a disdain for authority—not only underpin commemoration of Australian wartime experience but are also advanced as a pillar of national identity. The historical diggers, however, were citizen soldiers, and traditions originating with them occupied a problematic position within the professional Australian Army that deployed to Afghanistan. This chapter explores the concept of the digger in the modern Australian community, the way contemporary Australian soldiers see themselves, and the role that these assumptions, expectations, and attitudes played in cohesion and combat motivation in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2013.

Keywords:   Afghanistan, Australian Army, combat motivation, cohesion, digger, military professionalism

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