The Role of Gender in 'Expressive' Abuse at Abu Ghraib Academic Article uri icon


  • We analyze the court-martial of Sabrina Harman, one of the alleged `seven rotten apples' associated with specific incidents of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, vis-a-vis the Parsonian distinction between `instrumental' and `expressive' pattern-variables. The Parsonian distinction between instrumental and expressive roles served a multitude of functions simultaneously, and especially given the masculine code of the military. We move beyond Parsons to introduce the new concepts of `expressive abuse', `expressive torture', and `instrumental misuse of expressive functions' to capture the overall thrust of the courts-martial as well as important aspects of the abuse at Abu Ghraib as revealed through testimony, government reports, interviews, and other sources of data. Both co-authors were participant-observers at the courts-martial of Sabrina Harman and Lynndie England, and draw upon the testimony and data from those trials in addition to the documents that are cited.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Caldwell, R. A., & Mestrovic, S. G.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Caldwell, Ryan Ashley||Mestrovic, Stjepan G

publication date

  • November 2008