Walking with Soldiers: How I learned to stop worrying and love the cadets
“Walking with Soldiers” examines an auto-ethnographic moment of marching across the city of Helsinki with first-year cadets of the Finnish National Defence University. In a reparative reading, the walk dismantles boundaries of bodies, critiques, and affects. Through a walking methodology and autoethnography, the present exposition demonstrates how the author began orienteering within military structures through an affective investment. The exposition is a researcher’s journey across subjectivities and difference in a female civilian body. Epistemologically, it brings theory closer to the skin; and empirically, it offers insight into the affective world of belonging. “Walking with Soldiers” is multimodal and polyphonic: it consists of a text for reading, three audio tracks for listening and co-walking, as well as illustrations created by Julia Järvelä based on photographs taken by the author. The provided materials can be selectively attended to. The artistic technique used in the exposition is seduction: the reader/listener is invited into an experience. The exposition is a conversation between critical military studies and artistic research: it gives artistic attention to a military march and places importance on the acoustic and vibrating qualities of academic research. The writing itself subverts the practice of authoritative scholarly writing by presenting descriptive work as theoretical work, and by using citations as companions from the outside.