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category: Family & Relationships
published: Oct 2016
publisher: Wilfrid Laurier University Press

Growing Up in Armyville

Canada's Military Families during the Afghanistan Mission

by Deborah Harrison & Patrizia Albanese

tagged: military families

It was 2006, and eight hundred soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) base in pseudonymous “Armyville,” Canada, were scheduled to deploy to Kandahar. Many students in the Armyville school district were destined to be affected by this and several subsequent deployments. These deployments, however, represented such a new and volatile situation that the school district lacked—as indeed most Canadians lacked—the understanding required for an optimum organizational response. Growing Up in Armyville provides a close-up look at the adolescents who attended Armyville High School (AHS) between 2006 and 2010. How did their mental health compare with that of their peers elsewhere in Canada? How were their lives affected by the Afghanistan mission—at home, at school, among their friends, and when their parents returned with post-traumatic stress disorder? How did the youngsters cope with the stress? What did their efforts cost them? Based on questions from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, administered to all youth attending AHS in 2008, and on in-depth interviews with sixty-one of the youth from CAF families, this book provides some answers. It also documents the partnership that occurred between the school district and the authors’ research team. Beyond its research findings, this pioneering book considers the past, present, and potential role of schools in supporting children who have been affected by military deployments. It also assesses the broader human costs to CAF families of their enforced participation in the volatile overseas missions of the twenty-first century.

About the Authors

Deborah Harrison is a professor (retired) and adjunct professor of sociology at the University of New Brunswick and a former member of the Canadian Forces Advisory Council to Veterans Affairs Canada. She is co-author of No Life Like It: Military Wives in Canada (1994) and author of The First Casualty: Violence Against Women in Canadian Military Communities (2002) and numerous articles.

Patrizia Albanese is a professor at Ryerson University and past-president of the Canadian Sociology Association. She is co-author of Youth & Society (2011) and More Than It Seems (2010); author of Children in Canada Today (2016) and Child Poverty in Canada (2010); and co-editor of Sociology (2016). She has done research on child care in Canada and youth in CAF families.

Editorial Reviews

Poet Raymond Souster, a WWII volunteer, said once that every patriot who would send Canadians to war should first walk through the ward in a veterans’ hospital. They should also read Armyville.

— Blacklock's Reporter

"a groundbreaking work… meticulous, accessible examination of a … military town's home-front reactions to the deployment of troops … [which] contextualizes the war while analyzing [its] often devastating effect … on their children …. [It] is bolstered by extensive, frequently heartbreaking, firsthand stories of … adolescent[s], who … must deal with … new responsibilities as parent substitutes, and [the] … anxieties and depression [of] knowing a loved one is in a war zone.  …Out of the mouths of babes come remarkably perceptive insights.

— Publishers Weekly
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