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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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A Profession of Love

A Profession of Love

Cohesion in a British Platoon in Afghanistan

(p.200) 9 A Profession of Love

Patrick Bury

Anthony King

Oxford University Press

This chapter uses a case study of the combat interactions of a British infantry platoon in Afghanistan to address some of the fundamental arguments about cohesion and the relationship between its components in modern professional forces. Specifically, it deconstructs two different battlefield experiences to give some clear examples of how cohesion in a professional infantry platoon is ultimately generated through a complex array of practices, interactions, and identities that include drills and training, emotional bonds, and political motivations. Decisively, the chapter expands on the most recent cohesion literature to argue that, far from simply relying on the cold execution of professional skills, successful combat performance is inextricably intertwined with the intense emotions of love, pride, and shame.

Keywords:   Afghanistan, cohesion, drills, emotions, professionalism, combat

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