Current family responses to deployment — the case in Sweden

Ann-Margreth E. Olsson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


It has been argued that the coincidence of rising unemployment rates and the restructuring of the Swedish Armed Forces from draft based to enlistment have made choice of a military career a tempting alternative for the young. Joining the forces affects the soldier but also his/her relatives, especially partners and children. In the words of a wife interviewed: “We are three in this marriage; you and I and the Armed Forces”. This Action Research study explores the solutions narrated by soldiers, families and parents/relatives in connection with deployment to and readiness to participate in world wide peacekeeping operations. The study design is based on following a contingent in the situation prior to, during and after deployment. The design is open, however, so that in connection with interviews in the current pre deployment phase data from persons who are in and/or have been in deployment are also collected. Sampling uses a mixed model, which involves interviews, participation in meetings and other actions. Soldiers and soldier’s relatives have been and are invited to participate in dialogical interviews, re-narrating and co-creating narratives about their experiences so far and orientation in how to go on.

Narratives are analysed exploring ‘striking moments’, unique examples, patterns and joint actions. So far, the analysis of the data is in its preliminary stages. But it has been revealed that a well functioning social situation at home seems to be a basic premise for the soldier to perform her/his task. Listening to the web of narratives responses to deployment have emerged. It needs further inquiry however in order to reveal in more detail how social support and the emergent strategies of the families and of the individual family members align themselves in face of the presence of deployment. More data is especially needed with regards to the voice of the children. The researcher has learned that it often takes several meeting occasions to gain the calm and trust needed for entering into a co-creating interaction with the children. Results on mutual responses and strategies in use of soldier and partner, suggest there are four different ideal types of partner and children’s responsiveness.



ConferenceEuropean Research Group on Military and Society, ERGOMAS, 12 th Bienneal conference of ERGOMAS, Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Politicas y Sociologia, Unversidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, 4- 7 June 2013
Period80-01-01 → …

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Medical and Health Sciences (3)
  • Social Sciences (5)


  • action research
  • child
  • dialogical interview
  • family
  • military
  • narrative
  • partner
  • social work
  • soldier
  • swedish armed forces


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