This study evaluates the influence that military service may have on an individual’s choice of post-military employment within the field of protective services. The research focuses specifically on the identities of military veterans in the United States who currently pursue work as police officers and firefighters. The study focuses on motivation, transition, and commitment as key factors in identity formation among former service personnel.

Examining choice of post-military work is important because it is a major interface between the individual and greater society. Studying the civilian work of military veterans provides insight into how such individuals successfully reintegrate into society.

In order to understand the identities of military veterans who currently pursue protective service work, Goffman’s theory of total institutions is employed to examine the socialization process within institutions. It is through Goffman’s theoretical framework that public service work is explored.

This study involves police officers and firefighters in the Cleveland, Ohio area and utilizes surveys and oral interviews to gain an understanding of the identities of the general protective service population and of military veterans who have pursued protective service work. This study is unlike previous ones in that is ethnographic approach to understanding post-military work, therefore providing a new understanding of veteran reintegration into the civilian workforce.


Nick Kardulias


Sociology and Anthropology


military, protective service, police, fire, employment, identity

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Lauren E. Pugliese