The Sociology of War and Violence

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-07-12
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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War is a highly complex and dynamic form of social conflict. This new textbook demonstrates the importance of using sociological tools to understand the changing character of war and organised violence. The author offers an original analysis of the historical and contemporary impact that coercion and warfare have on the transformation of social life, and vice versa. Although war and violence were decisive components in the formation of modernity most contemporary analyses tend to shy away from the sociological study of the gory origins of contemporary social life. In contrast, this book brings the study of organised violence to the fore by providing a wide-ranging sociological analysis that links classical and contemporary theories with specific historical and geographical contexts. Topics covered include violence before modernity, warfare in the modern age, nationalism and war, war propaganda, battlefield solidarity, war and social stratification, gender and organised violence, and the new wars debate.

Author Biography

Sinia Maleevic is Senior Lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. x
Introduction: war, violence and the socialp. 1
The cumulative bureaucratisation of coercionp. 5
Centrifugal idcologisationp. 8
The plan of the bookp. 11
Collective violence and sociological theory
War and violence in classical social thoughtp. 17
Introductionp. 17
The 'holy trinity' and organised violencep. 18
The bellicose tradition in classical social thoughtp. 28
The contemporary relevance of bellicose thoughtp. 45
The contemporary sociology of organised violencep. 50
Introductionp. 50
The sources of violence and warfare: biology, reason or culture?p. 51
Organisational materialism: war, violence and the statep. 70
From coercion to ideologyp. 79
Conclusionp. 84
War in time and space
War and violence before modernityp. 89
Introductionp. 89
Collective violence before warfarep. 90
War and violence in antiquityp. 92
War and violence in the medieval erap. 102
The institutional seeds of early modernity: war, violence and the birth of disciplinep. 109
Conclusionp. 116
Organised violence and modernityp. 118
Introductionp. 118
Modernity and violence: an ontological dissonance?p. 119
The cumulative bureaucratisation of coercionp. 120
The centrifugal ideologisation of coercionp. 130
War and violence between ideology and social organisationp. 141
Conclusionp. 145
The social geographies of warfarep. 146
Introductionp. 146
The old worldp. 147
The new worldp. 165
Conclusionp. 174
Warfare: ideas and practices
Nationalism and warp. 179
Introductionp. 179
Warfare and group homogeneityp. 180
The structural origins of national 'solidarity'p. 191
Conclusionp. 200
War propaganda and solidarityp. 202
Introductionp. 202
War propagandap. 203
Killing, dying and micro-level solidarityp. 219
Conclusionp. 232
War, violence and social divisions
Social stratification, warfare and violencep. 237
Introductionp. 237
Stratification without collective violence?p. 238
Stratification through war and violencep. 242
Warfare and the origins of social stratificationp. 252
Justifying social hierarchiesp. 264
Conclusionp. 273
Gendering of warp. 275
Introductionp. 275
The innate masculinity of combat?p. 276
Cultural givens?p. 284
The patriarchal legacy?p. 288
Gender, social organisation and ideologyp. 295
Conclusionp. 307
Organised violence in the twenty-first century
New wars?p. 311
Introductionp. 311
The new-wars paradigmp. 312
The sociology of new warfarep. 315
Warfare between the nation-state and globalisationp. 319
The objectives of contemporary warsp. 324
What is old and what is new?p. 329
Conclusionp. 332
Referencesp. 336
Indexp. 359
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