Military Training. Group, Culture, Total Institution, and Torture

Charlie Barnao


The subject of this article is the military institution, with particular reference to the training, the military culture and socialization processes that characterize it. My approach to the subject is through the results of micro-sociological research, which mostly refer to the conceptual instruments of Symbolic Interactionism.

In the first part, I introduce several studies that describe and analyze the main aspects of the military institution from a cultural point of view. Within the total military institution, military cultures are transmitted through socialization processes that recognize, as a basic unit, the primary group as the main agent of socialization. Training, in turn, follows certain specific phases during which recruits are guided as they learn the norms, values, traditions, techniques, etc., which mark the passage from a ‘civilian’ to a ‘military’ life.

As well as the primary group, the use of rituals is another essential element for military socialization. These help the recruits to learn, but also reinforce specific norms and values, even outside the rigid formal training context, and for the rest of their military life. The final part of my work deals with the connection between military training and torture.


military institution; culture; Symbolic Interactionism

Full Text:



Copyright Licenza Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC-BY)

 - Peer Reviewed Journal

Indexed on: Google Scholar, ProQuest - Sociological Abstracts, Ebsco Discovery Service, Scopus, ERIH PLUS, DOAJ.

Scientific Magazine classified for ANVUR (Resolution n.89 del 6th November 2012)

Scientific Magazine class A according to ANVUR (Resolution of 11th August 2020)

ISSN 2239-8589 | Managing Editor: Debora Viviani | Editor in Chief: Paola Di Nicola