The Managed Family: An Examination of the Role of the Military Family in the Institution

Mai-Ling Garcia : Sociology

Mentor: Professor Martin Sanchez-Jankowski, Sociology

The family is often considered a primary source of emotional support and an institutional constant amidst every day challenges. For military personnel, the circumstances of every day life are more unpredictable, more dangerous, and further complicated by the intensive debate surrounding military duties and functions. Military families are intimately intertwined with the institution, but are not bound to the military in the same fashion as its personnel. What is the role of families in the military? This summer, Mai-Ling will conduct ethnographic research at the Marine Corps Base in Twentynine Palms, California, to investigate how military families manage themselves and how the military manages families within the institution. By interviewing Marine Corps wives and personnel she will investigate both the perceived and expected roles of families, and attempt to discover the actual nature of their relationship with the military.