Blending Postmodernism with Military Design Methodologies: Heresy, Subversion, and other Myths of Organizational Change

Ben Zweibelson

Abstract


The emergence of postmodern thinking in 21st century military practice, theory, and education is apparent through various international Armed Forces research, debate, and professional development. However, there is yet to exist a single overarching or agreed upon form for a postmodern military methodology, with extensive disagreement over language, form, function, and practical application in war. This essay frames the current debate by proposing an emergent movement termed the ‘postmodern military movement’ that is in conflict with the existing ‘modernist military movement’ well entrenched in most Anglo-Saxon Armed Forces. More significantly, the military appropriation of postmodern social theory invokes subsequent questions of whether the military might forge novel war applications that redefine the larger postmodern movement, or if it will remain untouched. This essay describes the current competing design theories as well as the personal journey of the author as he contributes his own military research and experimentation into the larger military profession for institutional debate and self-reflection.


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JMSS is a publication of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

JMSS gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council.