The development of modern military conscription systems is usually seen as a response to countries' security needs, and as reflection of national political ideologies like civic republicanism or democratic egalitarianism. This study of conscription politics in France and the United States in the first half of the twentieth century challenges such common sense interpretations. Instead, it shows how despite institutional and ideological differences, both countries implemented conscription systems shaped by political and military leaders' concerns about how taking ordinary family men for military service would affect men's presumed positions as heads of families, especially as breadwinners and figures of paternal authority. The first of its kind, this carefully researched book combines an ambitious range of scholarly traditions and offers an original comparison of how protection of men's household authority affected one of the paradigmatic institutions of modern states.
Dorit Geva is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology at Central European University. She received a PhD in sociology at New York University. Geva was the Vincent Wright Fellow in Comparative Politics at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute (2006-7) and spent four years as a Harper Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago (2007-11) teaching social theory in the College Core. Her work has been published in Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State, and Society; The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science; and Armed Forces and Society. She is a member of the American Sociological Association, the Council for European Studies, the American Political Science Association, ATGENDER (the European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation) and the Social Science History Association. Funding for the research in this book was provided by the Social Science Research Council's International Dissertation and Research Fellowship, a US National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant and the US Department of Education's Foreign Languages and Area Studies fellowship.