This book advances an interdisciplinary understanding of moral injury by analyzing the stories of military veterans of combat and peace missions.

In the past decade, the concept of moral injury has emerged to address the potential moral impact of deployment. This book contributes to an interdisciplinary conceptualization of moral injury while, at the same time, critically evaluating the concept’s premises and implications. It paints an urgent and compassionate picture of the moral impact of soldiers’ deployment experience and the role of political practices and public perceptions in moral injury. It does so by drawing on the experiences of close to a hundred Dutch veterans deployed to Bosnia (Srebrenica) and Afghanistan, and analyzing their stories from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, theology and social sciences. Ultimately, this book advances the understanding of moral, political and societal dimensions of moral injury and contributes to practical efforts aimed at its prevention.

This book will be of much interest to students of ethics and war, cultural anthropology, conflict studies and international relations.

part I|34 pages

Setting the stage

chapter 1|11 pages


part II|110 pages

Soldiers in conflict

chapter |8 pages

Introduction to Part II

The Dutch missions in Bosnia and Afghanistan

chapter 3|16 pages

‘That’s just the way it is’

Uncomplicated soldiering

chapter 4|21 pages

Moral disorientation and ethical struggles

Moral injury at the individual level

chapter 5|34 pages

Political betrayal and reparations

Moral injury in relation to political practices

chapter 6|29 pages

Societal misrecognition and (self-)estrangement

Moral injury in relation to public perceptions

part III|34 pages

Conclusions: Practical and theoretical implications

chapter 8|8 pages

Moral injury as a manifestation of latent tensions

An interdisciplinary conceptualization