chapter  8
Power Relations in Postcards of French First World War Military Interpreters
ByFranziska Heimburger
Pages 10

The author submits three postcards to a close reading both as images in their own right and as documents indicative of historical context, with the aim of showing how power relations in a Foucauldian sense are a meaningful tool for understanding the role of a military interpreter. Like all soldiers, military interpreters experience the power of the military institution as it inscribes its authority on their bodies by imposing a uniform. The hybrid Franco-British uniform of First World War French interpreters shows very tangibly their physical inscription into two different regimes of power. French First World War military interpreters had to establish themselves in a new role and its associated power network. In the related photographs, interpreters were not only depicted as individuals with their surrounding power network, but also as part of a professional setting. Interpreters in general, and military interpreters in particular, are part of a larger professional setting which brings with it hierarchical pressure and power relations.