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In the United States, rhetoric in support of the Iraq War often focuses on discourses of patriotism and supporting the troops. These discourses hold enormous sway over the American public because of the discursive legacies of the Vietnam War and the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In response, members of the peace movement who are veterans, soldiers, and military families stress their military identities during activism. These individuals have organized as an important branch of the U.S. antiwar movement that challenges the pro-war framing of patriotism and troop support by strategically deploying 'oppositional identities.' The oppositional identity strategy involves highlighting the activism of individuals who many would assume would be part of the movement's opposition. In an effort to assert credibility and support their frames, activists assert this novel and seemingly contradictory identity through organizational affiliation, rhetoric, clothing, mannerisms, and symbols.


Winner of the ASA Peace, War & Social Conflict Section Distinguished Article Award, 2012.

This article was originally published in Social Problems, volume 58, in 2011. DOI: 10.1525/sp.2011.58.2.235

Peer Reviewed



UC Press



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