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International Graduate Centre of Education

Confirmation of Candidature Master by Research: Hannah Taino- Spick

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"The Australian contemporary veteran: A study of Australian Defence Force veteran subjectivity post-discharge"


The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has a rich history in active military engagement. However, during and following Australia’s military participation in the Vietnam War, a noticeable shift occurred in how war and service was understood, experienced and perceived by internal and external stakeholders. Literature on the changing nature of serving military experience, and therefore veteran experience, suggests that conventional support services provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Returned Services League may no longer be universally relevant institutional models for veteran assistance. In response to the shift in the modern warfare experience and subsequent experiences of veteran life post-service, this study aims to investigate the Australian contemporary veteran experience following discharge with particular focus on those veterans who have chosen to pursue Australian higher education post-discharge. This research offers a two-fold contribution to the literature on higher education and Australian Defence Force personnel.  First, it addresses the limited number of investigations into the lives of former Australian Defence Force personnel (also known as veterans) and adds to the body of knowledge about what follows contemporary military service, often defined as discharge. Second, it explores life after discharge for those veterans who have chosen to pursue a pathway into higher education. Interviews will be undertaken with student veterans and analysis draws on theoretical insights from feminist poststructuralism and notions of intersectionality and performativity, as a means of investigating the discourses surrounding discharge, the veteran-self, and veteran re-storying of their lives as veterans and student veterans. The research balances the dominant discourses of American-led literature concerning veteran studies with an analysis of Australian data which combines veteran narratives after discharge, the discourses surrounding understandings of the Australian ‘warrior’ and recent shifts in war and peacekeeping exercises, and the consequences these shifts have on policies for veteran support including student veterans.


Hannah Taino-Spick is a former Royal Australian Air Force Logistics Officer who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Management) from the University of NSW @ the Australian Defence Force Academy in 2009. By the time of her discharge in 2015, she had undergone and completed air power studies, and a Graduate Certificate in International and Community Development. Her pathway and interest into academia was influenced by her desire to try new things as a ‘civilian’ and forge her way into pathways that helped her reinscribe a new post-discharge veteran identity. Since discharge, Hannah has completed studies in Gender Studies, Mental Health, International and Community Development, and qualified as a social worker.


·        Professor Sue Shore
·        Dr Stephen Bolaji

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