Europe's Rapid Reaction Forces: an Institutional and Interactional Sociology

Building on previous research on European football, this project examines one important aspect of European integration - the military. Currently, rapid reaction forces are at the forefront of military transformation. They represent the concentration and transnationalisation of military power. Resources are being focused on them and they are forming new relations with other similar formations across national borders in order to fulfill the new missions. The research intends to illustrate the dynamics of military change through close engagement with these new formations.

Having already conducted research on the British military, the ESRC period of research, from September 2005 to December 2006 focuses primarily on rapid reaction formations in France and Germany. The research aims to analyse the way institutional structures, doctrine, operational and tactical practices of these forces – and the command structures which support them are developing. The research seeks to understand how these forces actually conduct military operations in the current era, connecting abstract institutional change with face-to-face cultural and interactional adaptations. The ESRC period of research will involve ethnographic fieldwork at French and German staff colleges, followed by periods of observation in their rapid reaction formations. Fieldwork will be triangulated with strategic interviews with key military and political figures.

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