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The possibilities and limits of impact and engagement in research on military institutions

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rachel Woodward, Dr Neil Jenkings



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Military geographical research often requires direct engagement with military institutions. Although the morality of such engagements is often debated, the details of engagement in practice have been less scrutinised. Scrutiny is important, as military engagements can shape research-derived critiques and can influence the communication of research outcomes to both military and academic research communities. Military engagement comprises the communication of data, theories and concepts about military activities and phenomena, with military personnel and institutions, in textual, representational and interpersonal modes. The paper examines Geography’s history of research engagement to show the complexities and debates around this seemingly straightforward idea. It then introduces a research project and wider research programme on the UK Armed Forces Reserves which provides the empirical context from which we draw our observations about military engagement. We then consider two issues, language and institutional cultures, for their insights into the complexities of military engagement. We conclude by considering the politics of engagement in contemporary critical military geographical research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Woodward R, Dawes A, Edmunds T, Higate P, Jenkings KN

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Area

Year: 2020

Volume: 52

Issue: 3

Pages: 505-513

Print publication date: 01/09/2020

Online publication date: 08/05/2020

Acceptance date: 01/05/2020

Date deposited: 04/05/2020

ISSN (print): 0004-0894

ISSN (electronic): 1475-4762

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/area.12629


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