The Scientific Way of Warfare: Order and Chaos on the Battlefields of Modernity available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Columbia University Press
Bousquet's book considers the impact of key technologies and scientific ideas on the practice of warfare and the handling of the perennial tension between order and chaos on the battlefield. It spans the entire modern era, from the Scientific Revolution to the present, eschewing traditional accounts of technological change in war and instead exploring modern warfare as the constitution of increasingly complex social assemblages of bodies and machines whose integration has been made possible through the deployment of scientific methodology. Scientific conceptual frameworks have been increasingly applied to the theoretical understanding of war, particularly when they have been associated with influential technologies such as the clock, the engine, or the computer.Conversely, many scientific developments have been stimulated or conditioned by the experience of war, especially since the Second World War and the unprecedented technological and industrial effort that characterised it. The constitution and perpetuation of this scientific way of warfare, marked by an increasingly tight symbiosis between technology, science, and war, are best understood in the context of the state's attempts to make war into a rational instrument of policy. Bousquet also explores the relative benefits (such as providing a unique chain of command over the decision to use nuclear weapons) and disadvantages of centralising and decentralising approaches to military affairs, as exemplified in network-centric theory and in the activities of non-state actors such as insurgents.
About the Author
Antoine Bousquet is Lecturer in International Relations, Birkbeck College, University of London.
Table of Contents
C. 1 Technoscientific Regimes of Order in Warfare
C. 2 Mechanistic Warfare and the Clockwork Universe
C. 3 Thermodynamic Warfare and the Science of Energy
C. 4 Cybernetics and the Genesis of the Computer
C. 5 Cybernetic Warfare: Computers at War
C. 6 A New Informational Regime
C. 7 Towards Chaoplexic Warfare?
What People are Saying About This
Antoine J. Bousquet offers us an intellectual feast to which we are all invited, an intellectual frontier we are free to explore. The range of this work is truly impressive, yet it never obscures the unifying theme: the quest through the centuries for order on the battlefield. In Iraq and in Afghanistan, the West has found such order more elusive than ever, yet the quest has never been more urgent.
Antoine J. Bousquet does for the history of science as military metaphor what Marc Buchanan did for complexity science and networks in Nexus: The Groundbreaking Science of Networks. Bousquet translates a series of profound scientific developments into an accessible and engaging narrative of technology as artifact and metaphor. He writes with great eloquence and texture, while simultaneously treating complex theoretical issues with the light touch that will ensure a large audience.