The End of Warfare? A Sociological Analysis of Recent Approaches to War Studies
Full Prof., Chair of Sociology, University College, Dublin, Ireland firstname.lastname@example.org
The recent scholarship on warfare has been highly polarised around the question: Is organised violence on the rise or in decline? In this paper I critically examine the two dominant approaches – the new war thesis, and the decline of violence perspective – which offer contrasting answers to this question. The paper challenges both of these perspectives and develops an alternative, longue durée sociological approach, that focuses on the macro-organisational social context and explores the dynamics of the war-state-society nexus over the past centuries. I argue that warfare is not becoming obsolete and that ‘new wars’ are unlikely to completely replace inter-state warfare. Instead, my analysis indicates that there is more organisational continuity in the contemporary warfare that either of the two dominant perspectives is willing to acknowledge.