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War: Anthropological Aspects, Historical Development of
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology.
2015 (English)In: Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, vol 25 / [ed] James D. Wright, Oxford: Elsevier, 2015, 2, 377-381 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In defining war, this article explores the origin and historical development of armed aggression from the earliest human societies to the present. The fact that war is a relatively recent invention in the span of human existence, arising with complex societies, suggests war is neither a biological imperative nor integral to the human condition. The many forms war takes, from ethnic conflict through conventional militaries to guerrilla warfare are considered in order to understand the nature and culture of war. The twentieth century has been the bloodiest in history, and this piece examines the relationships between violence, society, and the exercise of power that help explain this. The changing philosophies and practices of war over time and society show war to be a complex constellation of economic, cultural, and existential, as well as political factors. The various theoretical approaches to war, from those characterizing premodern societies and the rise of the modern state to the present are discussed. In concluding, the future of war, and the new directions theory might take in best understanding war in the aftermath of the 2001 September 11 attacks, are considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Elsevier, 2015, 2. 377-381 p.
Keyword [en]
child soldering; Clausewitz, von; collateral damage; colonialism; counterinsurgency; drones (unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs); genocide; guerrilla warfare; Human Terrain Systems; International Criminal Court (ICC); mercenary; military-industrial complex; overseas continguencey operations; September 11 (9/11); torture; virtual war; war; war on terror
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Cultural Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-239553OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-239553DiVA: diva2:774809
Available from: 2014-12-29 Created: 2014-12-29 Last updated: 2015-04-06

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Finnström, Sverker
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