Informations and abstract
Keywords: Military profession, life-story, Italian army, Somalia, peace-keeping
The paper is an excerpt of the autobiography (a kind of auto-ethnographic account) of a particular military career. After brief experiences in the armoured corps and the transmission detachment of Italian Army, the author (coming from a left-oriented, working class family) has been hired as a skilled worker by an electronic firm, before applying as officer cadet and being recruited by the special Italian paratroops division known as Folgore. As officer, he participated in the 1993 peacekeeping operation in Somalia, being directly involved in the first armed conflict the Italian army fought since W.W. II, at the «check-point pasta» in Mogadishu. After a final experience as a trainer, he has been discharged from the Italian army and worked for a Ngo (managing a hospital in Somalia) and in different contexts as humanitarian operator and private security contractor. Nowadays he is still in the military reserve as instructor and expert mine-clearer, though he definitely resigned from direct military profession. The account of this particular experience - a life-story spent in direct contact with violence, either symbolic, in military drilling, and actual, in war-zones and humanitarian and security operations - exceeds any conventional description of the military profession, suggesting the idea of a career that has never cast off the uniform. While directly witnessing the redefinition and evolution in contemporary military profession, the autobiography allows to detect the discursive practices in defining and legitimizing different, regular or not, military dimensions, and to question the border between military and civilian realm.