The embodied rhetoric of recruit training in the United States Marine Corps

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rachel Lynne Bowman (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Stephen Yarbrough

Abstract: In order to win wars, the United States Marine Corps must perform the highly difficult task of training recruits to kill when and whom they should in combat. This training is not primarily a matter of skills, but a matter of promoting an attitude that will facilitate strategic--not indiscriminate--killing. In shaping recruits, the Corps must not strip their agency away entirely, since they need Marines who can think clearly and quickly in the fog of combat, but they must mitigate those parts of recruits' agency that would keep them from killing when and whom they should. Using rhetoric that falls between coercion and suggestion, therefore, they persuade recruits to become part of the body of the Marine Corps and to take on a Marine ethos that is neither too aggressive nor too restrained. Through critiques of such concepts as bodily persuasion, agency, understandings of cause and effect, and the rhetorical situation, my analysis uses complexity theory and neuroscience along with rhetorical scholarship to explain how the Corps uses knowledge of recruits' physical perceptual systems to persuade them to adopt the Marine ethos.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Agency, Complexity theory, Embodiment, Marines, Military training, Neuroscience
United States. Marine Corps
Marines $z United States $x Psychology
Marines $x Training of $z United States
Military education $z United States

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