What is it about?

The article looks at the YouTube series "Die Rekruten" (The Recruits), which was produced for the Bundeswehr - the German Armed Forces - to help recruit military personnel. In 2011, the German Federal Government transformed the Bundeswehr into an All-Volunteer Force, and since then had faced increased difficulties finding recruits. Aside from increased advertising the Bundeswehr tasked a marketing agency to produce a YouTube web series that showed military training from the inside. The series, which went online in 2016, follows navy recruits during basic military training. The article examines how military service is presented and what, if anything, this might do with respect to the legitimacy of the military and its activities, including the use of military violence abroad.

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Why is it important?

German military recruitment, and the web series Die Rekruten specifically, is interesting for two reasons. First, Germany has a strong antimilitarist culture (a skepticism towards using the military in international affairs) that should, in theory, make military recruiting more difficult than in countries where the military has a more prominent presence in society. Second, contrary to traditional ads the web series is an interesting format because it mixes advertising with journalism, claiming to provide an unadulterated view of military service and using a docutainment format.

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This page is a summary of: Militarizing antimilitarism? Exploring the gendered representation of military service in German recruitment videos on social media, International Feminist Journal of Politics, July 2021, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2021.1935289.
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