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Impotent Warriors


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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations Acknowledgements Introduction PART I: GWS EXPLANATORY MODELS Chapter 1. Desert Rats, Not Lab RatsA" Introduction Biomedical Position on GWS A Veteran's View Discussion of GWS Causes Risk Conclusions Chapter 2. Chains of Causation, Chains of Knowledge Introduction Contested Knowledge Claims to Truth and Knowledge Levels of Causation Meta-narrative Conclusions PART II: BODIES AND BOUNDARIES Chapter 3. Leaky Bodies Introduction Body Substances Body Substances as Commodity Visibility Shifting Boundaries Extended Boundaries Leaky Bodies Internal Risks Conclusions Chapter 4. We are the EnemyA" Boundaries and Borders Theories of Causation and the Immune System Military Metaphors Conclusions PART III GWS AS UNIQUE ILLNESS Chapter 5. Veterans' Associations The Construction of GWS Narratives The Role of Women You Aren't Mad - It's ChemicalA" Conclusions Chapter 6. The Disappearing Man: Narratives of Lost Masculinity Semen The Soldier's Body: The Embodiment of Masculinity GWS Bodies: The Disappearance of Masculinity Old Women's DiseasesA" Women Conclusions Chapter 7. Impotent Warriors: The Context of Narratives of Lost Masculinity Military Masculinity Masculinity under Threat Gender Anxiety Leaving the Military The Military Context Conclusions: Embodying Male Lack Conclusion: GWS and World Trade Centre Syndrome GWS: An Illness of Our Time? Risk and Vulnerability The medicalisation of Life The Approach of Anthropology Ethical Issues and Dilemmas Conclusions Appendices Bibliography Index

About the Author

Susie Kilshaw is a social anthropologist at University College London where she pursues her research interests in new illnesses, health scares and anxieties, military health, and trans-cultural psychiatry. She previously worked for the NHS as a clinically applied medical anthropologist on issues surrounding ethnic minorities and mental health. Since 2004 she has been Assistant Editor of Anthropology and Medicine.


Medical dialogues are rarely solely about medical matters but serve as a proxy for feelings about the self and the way that an individual relates to others. Indeed, the inclusion of transcripts of interviews and discussions is of particular value - a brave book that challenges popular assumptions about Gulf War syndrome; her analysis of the long-term effects of military service will serve as an important record not only for those with an interest in the armed forces, but also for researchers in the field of illness perception.A" * The British Journal of Psychiatry This is an important anthropological study, which I believe is set to become a classic. The theoretical perspectives are clearly presented and applied to compelling ethnographic material. The publication of this manuscript will make it accessible to both undergraduate and graduate students of anthropology, as well as students of political science, sociology and military studies.A" * Vieda Skultans

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