Abstract

Abstract:

Using primary source materials from medical, government, and journalism archives, this study of public medical discourse reveals the role of argumentation in positively shaping public perceptions of traumatized soldiers and locates the contemporary origins of the trope of "soldier as psychological victim of war"—a perception that continues to inform public policy and medical research. Using Jasinski's (1998) concepts of interior and exterior constitutive potential to analyze the public writings, interviews, and Congressional testimony of VVAW-affiliated psychiatrists, the study finds that the radical psychiatrists' interior (directed at veterans) and exterior (directed at public and medical institutions) rhetorics were (and arguably remain) mutually effective in creating an identity for veterans to occupy that exculpated them from their involvement in war, while allowing them to garner benefits for their service. The article concludes with two examples of the "veteran as psychological victim of war" trope as it shapes the contemporary rhetorical ecology of former servicemembers.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2573-5063
Print ISSN
2573-5055
Pages
pp. 189-219
Launched on MUSE
2020-06-10
Open Access
No
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