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Body and Personhood in the United States Marine Corps : Identifying the Socio-cultural in Stress and
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In much of the discourse on stress, distress and resilience (SDR) in the US Marine Corps there is the recognition that the social somehow plays a role in the development of stress and distress. However, these arguments are most often grounded in the same fundamental and largely unchallenged assumption that stress and distress are essentially the result of brain functions. Even in the literature that focuses on the social implications of combat, stress and distress are most often conceived as traumatic damage to the psychology and mind of soldiers, and not as personal and socio-cultural constructions of a way of being.
In a strong departure from the conventional discourse, Tortorello argues that such a reductive, neuroscientific approach to understanding SDR in the US Marine Corps fails both scientifically and ethically. Incorporating data from his ethnographic study of culture in the US Marine Corps, Tortorello proposes an agentic, socio-cultural approach that reconceptualises SDR as a way of being, wherein persons generate their own SDR through social and cultural mechanisms, rather than SDR presenting as the results of malfunctioning cognitive processes.
This book will be of interest to scholars of medical and psychological anthropology, military studies, and American studies.