Centre for Research on Families and Relationships

 Research Project

Health and Wellbeing

Institutions and Civic Society

Negotiating civilian and military lives: Reserves, families and work

Recent policy developments within the United Kingdom (UK) have initiated significant reconfiguration of the Armed Forces. This move to a more flexible resourcing model known as the ‘Whole Force Concept’ will reduce the numbers of full time (Regular) personnel and increase numbers of part time (Reservist) personnel (often referred to as the Territorial Army or TA).

Reservists will comprise more than one quarter of the UK Armed Forces, with the Army seeing the most significant re-configuration of personnel by 2020. The success of this more flexible capability will depend on effective integration, not only of Reserves with the Regular Force, but also of the Reservist and the military and civilian worlds that he or she straddles.

This study is investigating individual experiences of negotiating Reserve service, family life and civilian employment, to understand how Reservists, their partners/family members and employers view and experience the intersecting domains of changing military service, (civilian) work and family life.

The research will be conducted in the United Kingdom (UK) to investigate the following questions:

  • In what ways are the multiple identities of the Reservist constructed, understood and sustained over time and in different contexts?
  • How are the boundaries between Reserve Service, family life and civilian employment experienced by Reservists, their families and employers, and what demands are placed upon Reservists in negotiating these boundaries?
  • What family practices (everyday enactments of relations) support or inhibit successful negotiation of Reserve Service?
  • How do Reserves and eployers negotiate transitions in and out of civilian employment?
  • What are the views of Reserves, their families and employers on what constitutes successful integration and appropriate support?

Contact: Dr Zoe Morrison
Funding details: MOD and ESRC
Research team: Dr Zoe Morrison, Professor Sarah Cunningham-Burley,
Professor Wendy Loretto, Professor Vince Connelly
Dates: 13 months. Start date May 2014.
Keywords: Services, work-life balance, military