Beyond being the best: educating for narrative repair in transition from British Army to ‘Civvy Street’


The following is the latest abstract taken from my thesis, which is on the point of being resubmitted after post-viva revision


This thesis considers the unique nature of military life and work, and how this can complexify a transition back into the civilian context. In using an autoethnographic framework to narratively reflect upon his own experience of military to civilian transition (MCT), the author explains and recommends that support to those currently transitioning out of the United Kingdom’s (UK) armed forces might be enhanced by a ‘manoeuvrist approach’. This concept of manoeuvre is already familiar in the UK military sphere; however, its employment here (in part) signals a metaphor for manoeuvring the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) towards its desired goal of delivering ‘holistic’ transition support.

In extending this metaphor, the author conceives of a theoretical ‘Manoeuvrist Approach to MCT’ model, with the practical intention of better educating and preparing military leavers (MLs) and veterans to confront and overcome the challenges they might face in returning to ‘Civvy Street’, which might include those resulting from exposure to trauma. Recommendations include advocating the use of narrative review and ‘repair’; a process by which individuals can develop the means to manoeuvre their transition trajectory in favour of assets they bring, while accounting for and mitigating any hindering ‘liabilities’; and equipped with enduring strategies to continue this process into the future. Providing this support would require adjustment to current MCT assistance in the UK; but need not be financially expensive. In contrast, the personal, social and financial costs of failing to provide this augmented support are not only dear, but often tragic also.

Not every ML and veteran experiences a challenging MCT, but arguably many do. By better investing in MCT support for those that need it, including for members of the ML/veteran’s family, the contention is that we can all benefit.


3 thoughts on “Beyond being the best: educating for narrative repair in transition from British Army to ‘Civvy Street’

  1. Looking good mate. Spent a long time at the forefront of this from a distinctly non-academic perspective. I’d be interested to share some thoughts at some point. Hope you’re keeping well.

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    1. Cheers Adam, and always good to hear from you. All well here thank you; trust same with you. Yes, I’d be delighted and very interested to chat. Please feel free to drop me a line via LinkedIn whenever you want, and we can go from there if you like. All best meanwhile, Graham

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