This chapter1 will analyse relations of control between anthropologists and the military, and some of their effects on ethnographic production. Although, in principle, these relations could be discussed through their operation under two possible schemes – a military anthropology (that “belongs” to the military institutions) and an anthropology of the military (relative to the military personnel)2 – the idea here is to demonstrate how relations based on the attempt to establish control, between the military and anthropologists, follow a set primary direction. This course can be established in an obligatory manner (when anthropologists work for the military) or indirectly, when anthropologists try to observe soldiers3 and suffer the “side effects” of their ethnographies. The discussion begins through observations made during my own field­ work – systematically conducted between 1992 and 1997, and more sparsely between 2001 and 2010 – but also through the research con­ ducted by my students, which in some ways required my “reinsertion” into the field. Through these experiences, my main objective is to describe the effects of “direct contact” between anthropologists and army officers, resulting from the explicit ethnographic study of the military. Although this chapter is mainly ethnographic in character, it is also rel­ evant to the recent and academically polemical, direct and normative engagement of anthropologists and anthropological notions – such as “culture”, “ethnography” and “alterity”, to name the three most important terms – in the United States’ military effort in the Middle East (see the criticism by a group of anthropologists against the militarisation of anthro­ pology in the USA: Network . . . 2009). Although relations between anthro­ pologists and military institutions are hardly new, since 2006 news reports in the USA have captured a new mode of anthropological work: the direct use of the discipline’s techniques and knowledge in combat zones.4 This project is propelled by the idea that it could increase the efficiency of combat units in locations that are the focus of insurgence; the first test was in Afghanistan and the success of the enterprise motivated the North

American State Department to propagate the formula, by proposing that in future there should be at least one anthropologist working in each bat­ talion. This situation raises (at least) a consideration of the limitations of carrying out research with the military. From where can we begin to consider the problem of writing ethno­ graphies about agents of the State, and more specifically the military? As much as this field has grown recently, it is still relatively small and thus does not yet have a “secure protocol” to at least guide the researcher at the beginning of an ethnographic investment. Whereas, in most cases, anthropologists observe the “implicit rules” of a society, one of the prob­ lems of this type of object is that these groups (and the military especially) have explicit rules and protocols from the start, which serve as parameters for their “own” conduct as much as for what should be the “conduct of others”. Not that other individuals, groups and societies do not have these, on the contrary, but in this case, the “culture shock” (in Wagner’s terms, 1981: 6-13)5 is not only carried through with elements from “the anthro­ pologist’s own culture”. These protocols are also made explicit in manuals on conduct, etiquette, classification and planning of the “elementary forms or categories” that define the existence of these groups. Everything is conducted as if what the anthropologist normally searches for implicitly, among his natives is explicitly available; or rather, that practice is somehow given in theory. Thus, we find ourselves forced to “ethnographically invent” elements that could be obvious in other realities, but which are not in this setting. One of these elements, which will be specifically explored in this chapter, is the inversion of the flux of information between anthropolo­ gists and the military: Who questions who? Who is the informant? This will lead us to a series of inversions in ethnographic practice with military, in relation to other more “conventional” ethnographies (for lack of a better term at this time). If the parameters of what we are used to are given in the sense of “anthropologist – object – anthropologist”, here, we are faced with a situation that is more “object – anthropologist – object”, while trying to convert this equation into “anthropologist – [object – anthropologist – object] – anthropologist”. It is a matter of thinking through practical prob­ lems in function of theoretical elements often raised by anthropology. Before proceeding, it is necessary to state that the Brazilian military is very attentive to the academic world and that sooner or later someone would have the brilliant idea of engaging anthropology into the field of war, something that has already been done on a large scale in the USA (Price 1998, 2000). In the latter case, the military expanded its terrain of control by adopting the services of anthropologists themselves, whether by forging anthropologists (that is, sending agents to the academy), or by converting anthropologists into soldiers (that is, annexing the graduate anthropologist to uniform, through mechanisms of conversion that turn the civilian anthropologist into a military anthropologist). This is a new