Life Course Scholarship on Military Service
Janet M. Wilmoth, Syracuse University
This presentation will provide an overview of the extant research that has used life course perspectives to examine military service. Particular attention will be paid to identifying the theoretical contributions of this work to broader life course studies and to highlighting how this area of research is unique in its careful articulation of within- and between-cohort variation. In addition, drawing on data from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, I will describe how cohort flow will change the characteristics of veterans, in terms of time period served, sex, and race/ethnicity, between now and 2030. The presentation will conclude with a brief discussion of the types of theoretical and empirical work that are necessary to understand the changing role of military service in the life course and how military service affects demographic change.