This paper features an occupational group which was traditionally never studied by labor historians. It is argued that army activities are also a type of work, and therefore that the military ought to be regarded as workers- albeit a special category of workers. Based on the “Fighting for a Living” research project, the paper tries to discover regularities in the different systems of recruiting and employing soldiers which were practiced across the last five centuries by state-controlled land armies in Europe, the Middle East, India and China. The broad spectrum of possible labor relations is sketched, and the most important determinants of military employment are explored.
By Erik-Jan Zürcher