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Hierarchy, status, and combat motivation in the French foreign legion
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7058-3094
2015 (English)In: Frontline: combat and cohesion in the twenty-first century / [ed] Anthony King, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The French Foreign Legion is an elite force within the regular French army and it represents an interesting sociological case study of how an organization might enjoin cohesion when wider cultural bonds are absent. This chapter draws on organizational sociology to discuss this issue in relation to power in the Legion as organization and institution respectively. Based on ethnographic material, the chapter argues that the Legion is one of the most rigid and authoritarian Western military organizations and that the sanctity of the order is central to its culture. The recognition of status qualifies and moderates the extreme hierarchy, yet the latitude for flexibility is very narrow. In conclusion, the emphasis on unthinking obedience has some organizational advantages for the Legion, at the same time this dedication to orders has also potentially rendered it too rigid. This may be a disadvantage in an era of complex hybrid operations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.
Keyword [en]
French Army, Foreign Legion, organization, hierarchy, obedience
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123884DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719663.003.0010ISBN: 9780198719663OAI: diva2:878143
Swedish Research Council
Available from: 2015-12-08 Created: 2015-12-08 Last updated: 2016-01-27Bibliographically approved

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Sundberg, Mikaela
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Department of Sociology

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