Expeditionary Mindset – Moral and Conceptual Factors

About the project

Skepticism and rationalism are part of the western ethics; universalism and equal treatment are fundamental conditions for a legally secure administration. In all liberal states, there are democratic values dictating political democracy, legal justice and public ethics, in addition to economic values that prescribes functional rationality, cost-effectiveness and productivity. Countries where Swedish expeditionary forces are engaged are usually not characterized by these values, a situation which may result in dramatic cultural clashes. Understanding the value differences between one's own culture and the host country is therefore of importance and can make or break the success of a mission. The apprehension that the differences are usually great and are unlikely to change throughout the expedition is a fundamental overall (meta-) "core value" within a force.

Moreover, the expeditionary situation can cause a negative incentive where the enemy might use various forms of persuasion, aggressiveness and brutality. An expeditionary force, on the other hand, is expected to win "hearts and minds", which often demands moderation, patience and cultural understanding. The type and grade of these differences need to be studied, and approaches developed.

"Expeditionary Mindset, Moral and Conceptual Factors" uses input from, among others, cultural anthropology and sociological studies, where case studies from critical situations make up an important part. One of the objectives is to generate output in the form of informative and educational material, as well as training guidelines for the Swedish Armed Forces in core values and value differences.

The project is commissioned by the Swedish Armed Forces, and is a follow-up to the 2009 project "Core Values and Expeditionary Mindset".


Henrik Fürst