War and Genocide
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War and Genocide : Organised Killing in Modern Society

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This comprehensive introduction to the study of war and genocide presents a disturbing case that the potential for slaughter is deeply rooted in the political, economic, social and ideological relations of the modern world.
Most accounts of war and genocide treat them as separate phenomena. This book thoroughly examines the links between these two most inhuman of human activities. It shows that the generally legitimate business of war and the monstrous crime of genocide are closely related. This is not just because genocide usually occurs in the midst of war, but because genocide is a form of war directed against civilian populations. The book shows how fine the line has been, in modern history, between degenerate war involving the mass destruction of civilian populations, and genocide , the deliberate destruction of civilian groups as such.
Written by one of the foremost sociological writers on war, War and Genocide has four main features:
an original argument about the meaning and causes of mass killing in the modern world;a guide to the main intellectual resources military, political and social theories necessary to understand war and genocide;summaries of the main historical episodes of slaughter, from the trenches of the First World War to the Nazi Holocaust and the killing fields of Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda;practical guides to further reading, courses and websites.
This book examines war and genocide together with their opposites, peace and justice. It looks at them from the standpoint of victims as well as perpetrators. It is an important book for anyone wanting to understand and overcome the continuing salience of destructive forces in modern society.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 22mm | 419.99g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 074561907X
  • 9780745619071
  • 730,570

About Martin Shaw

Professor of International Relations and Politics, University of Sussex
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Back cover copy

This comprehensive introduction to the study of war and genocide presents a disturbing case that the potential for slaughter is deeply rooted in the political, economic, social and ideological relations of the modern world.



Most accounts of war and genocide treat them as separate phenomena. This book thoroughly examines the links between these two most inhuman of human activities. It shows that the generally legitimate business of war and the monstrous crime of genocide are closely related. This is not just because genocide usually occurs in the midst of war, but because genocide is a form of war directed against civilian populations. The book shows how fine the line has been, in modern history, between 'degenerate war' involving the mass destruction of civilian populations, and 'genocide', the deliberate destruction of civilian groups as such.





Written by one of the foremost sociological writers on war, War and Genocide has four main features:


- an original argument about the meaning and causes of mass killing in the modern world;


- a guide to the main intellectual resources - military, political and social theories - necessary to understand war and genocide;


- summaries of the main historical episodes of slaughter, from the trenches of the First World War to the Nazi Holocaust and the killing fields of Cambodia, Bosnia and Rwanda;


- practical guides to further reading, courses and websites.


This book examines war and genocide together with their opposites, peace and justice. It looks at them from the standpoint of victims as well as perpetrators. It is an important book for anyone wanting to understand - and overcome - the continuing salience of destructive forces in modern society.
show more

Table of contents

About the Author vi
Foreword by Gareth Evans viii
Preface and Acknowledgements xi
List of Abbreviations xvi
Introduction 1
1 Conceptual Building Blocks 5
2 Humanitarian Interventions: Thumbnail Sketches 31
3 New Wars and New Humanitarianisms 59
4 New Thinking: The Responsibility to Protect 88
5 So What? Moving from Rhetoric to Reality 119
Notes 155
Selected Readings 183
Index 187
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