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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 09 June 2010

Since 2006 over 200 British soldiers have been killed in Helmand, Afghanistan. Laurie Taylor discusses a new study which explores the way in which these dead solders have been commemorated in Britain. We have become familiar with the painful sight of mourners lining the main street of Wootton Bassett, as hearses carry coffins away from RAF Lyneham. In public acts of remembrance today soldiers are remembered as fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. This modern way of personalising and even domesticating soldiers is in stark contrast to the twentieth century rituals which mourn the sacrifice of anonymous individual soldiers who have died for the nation. What lies behind this change of attitude and what impact is the new public consciousness likely to have on how and when we wage war? Laurie talks to Anthony King from Exeter University, author of 'The Afghan War and 'postmodern' memory: commemoration and the Dead of Helmand'.

Producer: Charlie Taylor.

  • Anthony King

    Anthony King, Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Exeter

    Paper: The Afghan War and 'postmodern' memory: commemoration and the dead of Helmand
    British Journal of Sociology
    Volume 61 Issue 1, Pages 1 - 25
    Published Online: 12 Mar 2010

    Find out more about Anthony King
  • Joanna Bourke

    Joanna Bourke, Professor of History in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College

    Find out more about Joanna Bourke
  • Rachel Bowlby

    Rachel Bowlby, Northcliffe Professor of English at University College London

    Essay: ‘Commuting’ in ‘Restless Cities’
    edited by Matthew Beaumont and Gregory Dart
    Publisher: Verso
    ISBN-10: 1844674053
    ISBN-13: 978-1844674053

    Find out more about Rachel Bowlby


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