Helena Carreiras apresentou a comunicação "The ‘invisible’ families of Portuguese soldiers. From colonial wars to contemporary missions", realizada em co-autoria com Verónica Neves na Conferência do ERGOMAS em Estocolmo, 22-26 de Junho de 2009.
"The ‘invisible’ families of Portuguese soldiers. From colonial wars to contemporary missions"
Helena Carreiras and Verónica Neves
In 2008, more than one decade after the Portuguese armed forces started to send their soldiers in international peacekeeping missions, there is no program or policy aimed at supporting military families. Both from the institutional perspective and from the more informal dimension of social networks, soldiers’ families are rather ‘invisible’ components of the military social landscape. However, unlike many other nations, Portugal had know an uncommon pattern of family involvement in military life during the colonial wars in Angola, Mozambique and Guine-Bissau, from 1960 to 1974, where thousands of wives with children followed their husbands to long commissions in Africa. What type of factors – social institutional, cultural – might explain this ‘family withdraw’ from military life? Why is there so little institutional attention to families, when the few sociological surveys to deployed soldiers are consistent on the crucial role of family relations to motivation and satisfaction of soldiers during missions abroad? Why do families themselves seem somehow reluctant to get involved in the military context? The present chapter addresses these and other puzzles, looking at a problem which has received hardly any attention from the Portuguese Social Sciences. Through a series of in-depth interviews to military family members (from both periods), military associations’ leaders and policy makers, we try to provide some answers to the above questions.