British Royal Marines
Moreland and Levine (1994) suggest that entry into groups can often be marked by some initiation
ceremony or ritual. Analyse the case of the British Royal Marines and discuss why members go to such
lengths to mark the entry of a new comer? Additionally, discuss why you think newcomers might accept
being humiliated and sometimes even being abused?
British Royal Marines
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The operations of armed forces and any security forces are kept secret from the public
limelight. The reason for the high-level secrecy is said to be for good of the country. Therefore, it
becomes difficult for an outsider to understand the operations of these forces. Whether these
forces practice initiation ceremonies and other kinds of rituals is something that is open to
discussion. The recent incident caught on camera where marines fought in nudity has caused
mixed reactions on the operations or workings of the marines. The case study of the British
Royal marines provides the basis of this analysis. Reasons for such incidences on the camera
against new comers and reasons why new comes may agree to be subjected to such humiliations
and abuse are deliberated.
In this case study, two naked marines are forced into combat in what is seen to be an
initiation ceremony (The Guardian, 2005). Young Royal Marines fight one another. One of them
is beaten unconscious and slumps on the floor. The incidence triggered mixed reactions from the
leaders and the marines’ leaders. This case study therefore, marks the basis of the analysis (The
Many reasons explain why members may go to such extreme when welcoming new
comers. One of the reasons is to exercise initiation ceremony or ritual. Different organizations
and institutions have different rituals they conduct to demonstrate maturity or passage to the next
stage of adulthood. According to Moreland & Levine (1994), entry into a new group may require
passing through initiation ceremony. The ceremony will depend on the kind of duties or
responsibilities that one anticipates. Marines’ nature of work may involve combat and therefore,
it is likely that they may use this combat or fights to welcome the new entrants in their world.
This is tip of an iceberg or a clue to what they should be expected. The fighting witnessed
therefore, may have been used to jig jag the minds of the new recruits that they are in a different
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world and they must prepare for the turf times to come. Strength is therefore expected and one
must live up to the standards and strive to defend themselves. The episodes in the video suggest
that this was a ceremony initiation aimed at testing the strength of the new recruits. In this video
shooting a man in surgeon outfit gives instruction for the two marines to roll their mats around
their arms and fight with bare fists. One of them seems reluctant, is beaten, and becomes
unconscious. This footage actually, shows that the fight was under instructions of the senior
marines (The Guardian, 2005). The denial may persist but the fact of the matter remains that this
might have been an initiation ceremony. The fact that bullying is prohibited in the military and
military people known to observe law, it is indeed true that such incidences helps to initiate new
and younger recruits.
The law of the jungle or the warriors have since a long time been expected to face each
other or to undergo a certain rituals to earn a badge. According to Weinberger (2015), hazing and
babooning are some of the ways that these warriors used to earn their badge. For instance,
Vikings treated new crewmembers at the back of the ships and dragged them through freezing
waters to ensure that they become rightfully qualified to become crewmembers. This ritual made
the new crewmembers to gain courage (Lambert, 2015). The tribe people in Borneo on the other
hand, forced their young men to engage is risk and painful events using sharp sticks to exemplify
their maturity and for them to graduate to the next stage in the society.
Therefore, such practices have also extended in the modern times and in the armies as
they still practice the same. Army is a field that requires boldness and therefore, any person must
be taken through very difficult situations to test their capability and endurance levels. The tasks
that await them require total dedication, endurance, and perseverance. Other terms used to
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describe the actions that are practiced as rites of passage may include japing, hazing, breasting
sprog Olympics and joining runs.
According to Weinberger (2015), initiation ceremonies aims at indoctrinating
ideologically rooted identifies of new members to a certain group of members. The ideology of
a certain group defines who they are and show they perceive certain things. In an organization
for instance, rituals are conducted to enable new member fit in the organization. The process of
induction of new employees for that matter allows the new recruits to understand the culture and
the ideology of the rest of the members. For that matter, it is important in the context of the
marines that they also conduct some of these initiation rituals and ceremonies to pas on the
ideology to the new recruits. To civilians it might have gone to the extreme but to the members
of the marines it is not something to be skeptical about. In the situation, the other marine
members appear to cheer. They are as well naked and the two marines in combat are also in their
nudity. This, therefore cleanly shows that, this was something practices and was aimed at passing
on the ideologies to the new recruits. The nudity of all other marine members is a show of
identify and unity among themselves. They have nothing against each other but it is very
important for them to go through such hardships as part of their development into real warriors.
Another reason for such acts on new entrants in the Marines and even other fields or
areas is for human connection. It helps to cultivate relationships among the members of the
marines (de Grave, 2014). This is equated to collective consumption practices but is nested with
rituals such as fighting while naked. The essence of such an act is to show their solidarity and a
sense of belonging. The fact that there was only two young men fighting while the other
remained as spectators, it was aimed at solidifying their bond. Relationship is nurtured through
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their cheering and remaining naked. Therefore, the group was engaging in these kinds of
bevaiour to strengthen their relationships.
Such methods of marking new entrants of new members are also done for fun. The ritual
components may closely be aligned with the component of fun. Deciding to remain nude in the
ocean and fighting without clothes could have been fun. Marines have daunting tasks and
therefore, they needs some time to relax and to enjoy themselves. Just like one of the privately
official said, this incident could have a bit of fun but it could have gone out of hand. Therefore,
it may not be out rightly true that the combat was a ritual. It could have a fun but it went out of
hand leading to one of the fighters becoming unconscious after being beaten. Introducing new
members could have attracted the marines to celebrate their new entrants and therefore, to make
the occasions fun and enjoyable, these two young marines would be the one to add spice the day.
On the same note, it could also be the norm and the tradition of the marine to have a combat
between two marines on the day of welcoming new entrants (Setlhabi, 2014). Therefore, this
should not be seen as bullying and mistreatment of the soldiers. It is expected that during such
incidences some people may be hurt and therefore, and that does not mean that it is out of hand.
Such behavior as exemplified in the case study shows the transition or passage rites. In
various cultures such as African cultures, young people have to go through passage of rites such
as circumcision to transit to adulthood (Bonnemère, 2014). During such periods, the young boys
are taken through challenging and very difficult conditions. They are beaten and even forced to
sleep in the forest. This experience makes them to harden and to understand that they have to
face live with courage and boldness. This is the similar case in the Maine. New recruits may not
have had any experience about Marine and the challenges they go through. Therefore, though
acts such as physical fights, helps these young entrants to harden and to understand that it is not
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easy. It enables to understand that they are moving to the next stage that requires them to harden
and to be courageous.
Another reason for such behaviors, where new recruits are subjected to harsh conditions
as exemplified in the British Marine soldiers is for psychological purposes (Setlhabi, 2014). The
mind of an individual and the way they think and perceive determines show they take decisions
and the way they view life. In the military, marines or soldiers must be psychologically prepared
to execute their duties. They must understand their duties and the danger they areas being
exposed to. Therefore, this combat between the two marines was something that could have been
used to nurture the thinking and the s psychology of other new recruits. It opens them and
delivers them into- a reality world. They must understand that some time they will have to
encounter situations that would require them to defend themselves. Such situations will require
that they give it all to survive or are overpowered and subdued.
According to Johnson, (2011), the act of hazing continues to evolve in the society.
Hazing refers to any activity that an individual expects when joining a group that may degrade,
abuse, humiliates, or endangers regardless of the person willingness to participate (Malisha,
Maharaj & Rogan, 2011). Sometimes, in a society, one is expected to adhere to the things that
the majority of people are doing. Failure to do that, it amounts to forcefulness. Therefore, in this
case, the act of these two young marines fighting may be explained as acts of hazing. The fact
that one of the soldiers appeared reluctant to fight without the mats but what he received was
severe beating that made him to remain unconscious. The rest of the members were nude without
clothing and no one would have been expected to go contrary to this directives.
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Other reasons that explains why members go to such lengths to mark the entry of a new
comer is due to excitement, release of stress, showing solidarity, among others (Weinberger,
2015). Because of excitement, individuals may turn out to engage in weird behaviors that may
surprise others. Actually, remaining nude and fighting without clothes is a sign of excitement.
Some may act so to release their stress. They remain nude and engage in any activity that can
preoccupy their minds. Other still may engage in such activities because they want to show the
spirit of solidarity. While other may do this to show their mighty and strength. The recruits may
be forced to fight by the seniors because they must obey their directive failure to which may lead
to their dismissal and harsh punishment.
This brings to the discussion on reasons that would make these new comers to accept this
kind of humiliation and abuse. One of the reasons is the quest to show their strength. Some of the
newcomers may be having a high ego and this may drive them to engage in this kind of
humiliations (Setlhabi, 2014). They want to show the world that they have the energy and that
nothing can come in their way.
Other reason why the new comes may accept to be humiliated is when their seniors of
dire consequences for failing to obey their orders threaten them (Weinberger, 2015). Their
seniors may expect them to abide by the directives they give them. Going against such
directives may be seen as violation of the orders and failing to respect the authority. Therefore,
this leaves these young newcomers in jeopardy. They will have no otherwise but access to be
humiliated and abused.
This habit as well arises when there is no supervision. Lack of enough manpower is a
challenge that causes such behaviors to happen among the new comers. When there is no one to
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monitor and to control or guide people, some mischievous are likely to surface. Some of the
juniors may subject these new comers to hash treatment. They may be bullied and expected not
to report the same to the authority.
When these new comers lack mentorship and someone to guide and tell them their rights,
a vacuum is left. They are therefore prone to any kind of abuse and this is likely to make them
easily humiliated and mistreated. Therefore, there must be sufficient measures of systems in the
organization that empowers the new comers and teaches them on their right. If this is done, it
would become difficult for this newcomers to be abused and humiliated.
Accepting to be abused and humiliated is also something that depends on the personality
of an individual. Some of the newcomers are introverted and they fear (Weinberger, 2015). So in
case they are threatened by someone, they easily give in. Therefore, it becomes easy for such
individuals to be threatened and abused. However, on the other hand, resilient individuals will
not easily buy into humiliation. They will use whatever means they have at their disposal to
defend themselves. Therefore, the personality and the cultural background of an individual will
play a greater role in this kind of humiliation.
In conclusion, it is evident that people may behave differently in different situations. The
case of British Royal Marines is a good illustration of how people behave differently, especially
when they receive new comers. The video footage is open to varied explanations of what was
happening. To some this is viewed as ritual or an initiation ceremony, others view this as fun
while to others it may be viewed as a process of ideology. The fighting of two marines seems to
be under instructions and this exclude in the equation the aspect of bullying. As a ritual, it would
mean that the Marines are preparing and orienting the young newcomers to their world. It would
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also be fun if the Marines engage in fighting. It is also important to understand that some
occasions new comers may be humiliated or abused. Such cases may arise because of their
personalities, fear of dismissal, lack of mentorship, and lack of supervision. It is therefore
important to ensure that those newcomers are treated well. This will enable them to have positive
thoughts about the organization. They will also remain devoted and will continue passing on
good virtues to the generations that comes. New comers have the right to better treatment. They
must be respected and treated with dignity. Rituals of initiation ceremony should not carry away
their dignity but instead it should be done in a humane way to achieve the intended purpose. The
British Royal Marine should therefore not be condemned for the acts they got involved. It will be
good gesture is first, an investigation is carried out to understand if indeed the actions were
rituals or bullying. This will help to build reputation of the Marine in the public eye.
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Bonnemère, P. (2014). A relational approach to a Papua New Guinea male ritual cycle. Journal
of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 20(4), 728-745.
de Grave, J. (2014). Javanese Kanuragan Ritual initiation: A Means to Socialize by Acquiring
Invulnerability, Authority, and Spiritual Improvement. Social Analysis, 58(1), 47-66
Johnson, J. (2011). Through the liminal: a comparative analysis of communitas and rites of
passage in sport hazing and initiations. Canadian Journal Of Sociology, 36(3), 199-227.
Lambert, D. A. (2015). The Book of Job in Ritual Perspective. Journal Of Biblical Literature,