This thesis is based on a longitudinal study of servicemen and their families, as they experience transition from careers in the Royal Navy to civilian life. The analysis is based on data derived from three sets of focused interviews with twenty couples, conducted in Plymouth over a period between November 1995 and October 1998, and the findings of a questionnaire survey of just over two-hundred leavers. It develops a theoretically distinctive approach, drawing on the literature of organisations, discourses and identity, in order to understand servicemen's relationships with naval careers, and the implications for adaptation to civilian life on leaving. The research examines the meanings that men attach to naval careers and organisations, and their symbolic significance for their experiences of both service and civilian life. The analysis addresses the effects of careers on identity, decision-making, personal relationships and friendship networks, families, domestic divisions of labour, career interplay, parenting and resettlement. Whilst general patterns of success or failure in resettlement have been the main focus of past interest, this thesis uncovers the differential experiences of leavers in all their complexity. The study identifies a relationship between quantitatively and qualitatively different levels of naval involvement and the personal and familial experiences of career change and resettlement. The main findings of the work relate to wider issues of organisations, cultures and discourses, and are relevant to current debates about the future of military cultures, as well as the more specific issues surrounding resettlement.

Document Type


Publication Date