Veterans of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with visually identifiable injuries possess ‘‘unruly’’ bodies that render the story of war in efficient, emotional terms. The injured veteran’s explicit connection of war with injury motivates state and mainstream news discourse that domesticates veterans’ bodies, managing representations of injured veterans through three dominant strategies. First, dominant discourses invoke veterans’ bodies as metonymy of the nation-state at war*bodily well-being operates as a metonym for both the nation’s health and for the condition of the war. Second, veterans are domesticated by strategic placement in contexts that regulate their range of movement, especially amputees, who are often framed as having already overcome any limitations imposed by their war injuries. Third, dominant visual discourse domesticates veterans’ bodies by ascribing a strategic telos to them, shifting the meaning of the injuries away from their origins in state policy and toward wholeness and ‘‘normalcy.’’ Representations of whole-bodied and injured veterans tame the harshness of war and erode the argumentative grounds for questioning it.

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Post-print Article

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Copyright © 2010 Routledge. Article first published online: 10 FEB 2010.

DOI: 10.1080/00335630903512697

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Full citation:

Achter, Paul. "Unruly Bodies: The Rhetorical Domestication of Twenty-First-Century Veterans of War." Quarterly Journal of Speech 96, no. 1 (February 10, 2010): 46-68. doi: 10.1080/00335630903512697.