War and Modernity: Studies in the History of Violence in the Twentieth Century

Overview

Written by one of Europe's leading social theorists, this book takes up the claims of modernity and confronts them with a stark reality: the ongoing proliferation of war. How can contemporary social and political thought come to terms with this apparent failure of modernity? Throughout the 20th century the global struggle of ideologies put paid to the dream that wars were somehow the relic of a bygone, unenlightened age. But now in the aftermath of the Cold War era, how are we ...

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Overview

Written by one of Europe's leading social theorists, this book takes up the claims of modernity and confronts them with a stark reality: the ongoing proliferation of war. How can contemporary social and political thought come to terms with this apparent failure of modernity? Throughout the 20th century the global struggle of ideologies put paid to the dream that wars were somehow the relic of a bygone, unenlightened age. But now in the aftermath of the Cold War era, how are we to account for the persistence of war and state violence?

Drawing on a wide range of material, from World War I and Vietnam to the Gulf War and the conflicts in the Balkans, Joas engages with current debates in the sociology and politics of war and develops his own distinctive line of argument concerning the role of warfare in modern societies. He aligns himself with figures such as Giddens and Mann in the attempt to establish a new and non-functionalist theory of social change.

This compelling and timely study confronts one of the great paradoxes of our era, and Joas's book is a substantial contribution towards a new historico-sociological perspectiveon the twentieth century. It will be of particular interest to students and scholars of sociology and politics, and will appeal to anyone who has puzzled over the persistence of modern war, and the limits of enlightenment as an historical force.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘Though war remains central to society, it has been peripheral to recent sociological theory. Hans Joas helps remedy that with penetrating critiques of Marxian, realist and, especially, liberal views of war.’ Michael Mann, University of California

War and Modernity is a path-breaking book which explores in a very incisive way a subject which has not been systematically addressed in the social sciences, namely the relations between war and modernity. Contrary to the optimistic views which see war as a survival of “primitive” urges, Joas shows convincingly how war constitutes a basic component of modernity. The book is a distinct contribution.” S.N. Eisenstadt, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

"...International Relations scholars should find the analysis of some familiar issues from a different angle illuminating, and they will find some important discussions and reconstructions of social thought in the context of war...much of value to be found in this volume" Bryan Mabee

"A valuable contribution to the reflection of sociology on war and violence." American Journal of Sociology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745626451
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Director of the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, University of Erfurt, and Professor of Sociology and Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Preface.

Introduction: War and Values.

Part I The Modernity of War.

1. The Dream of a Modernity without Violence.

2. The Modernity of War: Modernization Theory and the Problem of Violence.

3. Ideologies of War: The First World War as Reflected in the Contemporary Social Sciences.

Part II After War.

4. After the War: Democracy and Anti-Communism in Berlin after 1945.

5. After the Cold War: The Collapse of the German Democratic Republic (with Martin Kohli).

6. Sprayed and Betrayed: the Experience of Violence on the Vietnam War and Its Consequences.

Part III: War and Violence in Social Theory.

7. Between Power Politics and Pacifist Utopia: Peace and War in Sociological Theory.

8. Is there a Militarist Tradition in Sociology?.

9. Sociology after Auschwitz: Zygmunt Bauman's Work and the Problems of German Self-Understanding.

10. War and the Risk Society.

11. War the Teacher?.

12. Action Theory and the Dynamics of Violence.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Name Index.

Subject Index

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