What Motivates Enlistment, and Why it Matters Morally

Supervisors: Dr. Ned Dobos and Dr. Stephen Coleman Traditionally the military has been thought of as an institution, not unlike the Church, whose members answer a “higher calling” to sacrifice their interests, ambitions, and if need be their lives, for the sake of a greater good. But according to some historians and sociologists, nowadays the military resembles an occupation, governed by market principles, where workers exchange their labour for material reward. Careerism, a fixation on building a resume for post-military employment, and an ever greater reliance on extrinsic motivational incentives—pay and perks—are the hallmarks of what George Moskos calls the “occupational shift” in the modern military. Some have speculated about how the occupational shift will impact on the effectiveness of the armed forces—selfless service may be too much to expect of soldiers qua self-aggrandizing market actors. But what are the ethical implications of the occupational shift? If soldiers are employees, do familiar employee rights and labour standards apply to them? Does the occupational shift threaten to obliterate the moral distinction between national armed forces personnel and mercenaries? Are “employee warriors” more or less likely to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles of Just War Theory? UNSW Canberra is offering a PhD Scholarship to a suitably qualified candidate interested in pursuing these and related questions.

The successful applicant, subject to admission to the PhD degree program, will be awarded a UNSW Canberra Research Training Scholarship with an annual tax-free stipend of $27,049 (2015 rate). This scholarship is for a period of 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress reviews. Students with a background in philosophy/ethics (or a cognate discipline) are encouraged to apply. Applicants should hold a Masters degree or undergraduate qualification with first class honours.

UNSW Australia (the University of New South Wales) is one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities and a founding member of the prestigious Group of Eight (Go8) research-intensive universities in Australia and a member of the Universities 21 international consortium. UNSW Australia is an Australian university with a global vision to bring our students a truly world-class learning experience; we regularly collaborate with pioneering universities around the world. The Canberra campus of UNSW Australia is located at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).