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Ceremonial Storytelling

Ritual and Narrative in Post-9/11 US Wars

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Frank Usbeck

US society has controversially debated civil-military relationships and war trauma since the Vietnam War. Civic activists today promote Indigenous warrior traditions as role models for non-Native veteran reintegration and health care. They particularly stress the role of ritual and narrative for civil-military negotiations of war experience and for trauma therapy. Applying a cultural-comparative lens, this book reads non-Native soldiers’ and veterans’ life writing from post-9/11 wars as «ceremonial storytelling.» It analyzes activist academic texts, «milblogs» written in the war zone, as well as «homecoming scenarios.» Soldiers’ and veterans’ interactions with civilians constitute jointly constructed, narrative civic rituals that discuss the meaning of war experience and homecoming.

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Contents

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1. Introduction

Ritual, Narrative, and War: Disciplinary and Methodological Approaches

New Media, Community, and the Traditions of Firsthand US War Narratives

Milblogs and New Media as Primary Sources in a Historiographic Context

2. Narrating War: Activist Discourse and Cultural Comparison

Native American Traditions of Warrior Reintegration

Individual Experience

Personality

Warriorhood as a Relationship

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