Running (for) the Military: An Ethnography of Sport Militarism at the Canada Army Run

in Sociology of Sport Journal

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Bridgette M. DesjardinsCarleton University

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In September 2019, 19,000 amateur runners participated in the Canada Army Run, a road race hosted by the Canadian Forces (CF). This ethnographic study explores the event as a site of socialization, demonstrating that the Army Run: (a) focuses on promoting the CF rather than maximizing race results, (b) promotes the CF by exceptionalizing its members, and (c) is a celebratory site of promilitary socialization and recruitment that precludes critical engagement with the CF. These findings indicate that military promotional strategies have evolved since the immediate post 9/11 era; whereas previous initiatives used sport to tie local military agendas into larger neoliberal military imperatives, the 2019 Army Run demonstrates a new tactic, depoliticizing the CF and reifying an idealized, decontextualized Canadian military.

Desjardins (bridgette.desjardins@carleton.ca) is with the Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

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