Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

George Barger

Second Advisor

Mary Ann Lamana

Third Advisor

Carl Greenberg


The following thesis deals with a sensitive issue, namely the examination of risk-taking behaviors in a military context. Generally, it is agreed that certain decisions made by the military are considerably more vast and important (in terms of the sociopolitical, and moral ramifications) than decisions reached by non-military groups. In light of this agreement, any analysis of risk-taking behavior could be interpreted as threatening to the image of the military. Understanding the sensitivity of the central theme of the following thesis demands an understanding of the assumptions of the investigation. The two major assumptions of this work are: a) the military is not a mindless, thrill-seeking entity lacking in rational restraint, but the military socialization process does seem to elicit risk y behaviors from its members; and b) the military risk ethic is not necessarily any more dramatic than the civilian risk ethic, even though this relationship has not been tested in the literature of group behaviors. I am not, in other words, launching an attack on the rationality of military decision-making. With the above mentioned assumptions in mind, the analysis of socialization and risk in a military context will be developed throughout the following thesis.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Sociology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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