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The Combat SoldierInfantry Tactics and Cohesion in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries$
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Anthony King

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199658848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658848.001.0001

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Cohesion

Cohesion

Chapter:
(p.24) 2 Cohesion
Source:
The Combat Soldier
Author(s):

Anthony King

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199658848.003.0002

The usage of the term cohesion is complex and multiple. This chapter aims to identify a coherent definition of the concept of cohesion. The chapter explores the use of the concept of cohesion in the sociological literature on the military, beginning with the famous article by Janowitz and Shils, and in social psychology, especially the work of Festinger et al. The chapter claims that in all this scholarship cohesion refers to the individual motivation which arises from the special bonds of comradeship and close personal relations. Because they like each other, individuals are willing to do things which they would not do independently. Motivation is clearly important but this chapter proposes that it is better to understand cohesion not as a special form of motivation but as collective performance itself and specifically collective combat performance.

Keywords:   defining cohesion, social psychology, Festinger, Janowitz and Shils, motivation, collective performance

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