Beyond Militarisation: Why Sociology Should Better Appreciate War and the Military

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Bradley WEST, University of South Australia, Australia
In this paper I argue that advances in sociological thought can be made through a better appreciation of the ongoing influence of war and the military in the shaping of contemporary society. After outlining the reasons for a general reluctance by sociologists to study war and the military, certainly in contrast to historians and political scientists, I will focus on the limitations of the dominant ‘militarisation thesis’ that has emerged post ‘9/11’ in sociology and cognate fields. I will then argue that a new cultural sociology of war and the military can be achieved by reconceptualising the perceived relationship between armed conflict and civil society, allowing for sociological analysis to move beyond a primary concern with representation to integrate the direct and indirect influence of war on belief and social action.