Date of Graduation

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Advisor

Lori Holyfield

Committee Member

Steven Worden

Second Committee Member

Anna Zajicek

Abstract

This research includes interviews with twelve military wives to examine emotion-work techniques used to negotiate the everyday life of wives during their husbands' deployment. In this study, I seek to better understand the ways in which military wives negotiate their feelings within a context of military masculinity and how they manage role strain, feelings of loneliness, isolation, and marginalization. In addition, I examine the cultural constructs available to wives, such as traditional gender roles and subordination. Interviews confirm the complexity of the life of the military wife, revealing challenges of contradictory emotions in relationship to the military, her husband, her family, and the war in Iraq. Findings reveal that military wives engage in significant emotion work to support their husbands during deployment. Findings also identify the support structures that military wives either enjoy or lack during deployment, their views toward soldiers versus the bureaucratic structure of the military, and their participation in the moral order of military communities through patriotism. Suggestions for future studies are presented, as more research is needed to deepen our understanding of the isolation and marginalization of life for military spouses.

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