Militarized socialization, military service, and class reproduction: The experiences of Israeli soldiers

Gal Levy, Orna Sasson-Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exploring the links between militarized socialization and social inequality in Israel, the authors aim to examine both the pattern of political socialization, which extols the role of the combat soldier as the emblem of the "good citizen," and the ways by which social agents themselves respond to this socialization. Although an all-encompassing phenomenon, the authors find militarized socialization is not equally "distributed" or "received." Rather, it reflects and reproduces the class and ethnic positions of its various recipients. Based on interviews with male soldiers in a wide range of military roles, the authors identify two types of responses to militarized socialization: (a) a dominant response of conformity and obedience, mainly expressed in the unquestioning acceptance of military service in a combat role, and (b) an ambivalent response, of simultaneous acceptance of and resistance to this ideal. In a more comparative vein, the authors argue that military service does not simply reproduce ethnic and class inequalities but rather, by molding the soldiers' conceptions of citizenship, is still a powerful mechanism of legitimizing a hegemonic militarized and class-differentiated social order.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-374
Number of pages26
JournalSociological Perspectives
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Citizenship
  • Class and ethnic inequality
  • Israel
  • Militarized socialization
  • Military service
  • Political socialization


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