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War and Terrorism

5 pages64 viewsWinter 2011

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Lecture 10 war and destruction
Is it possible to get rid of inequality? What might Canadian society look like if we succeed in
reducing inequality
War is the social process in which large groups of people systematically try to kill one another
Tad homer Dixon argues that many of the societal problems and events we study including
wars are the result of complex interactions between a large number of factors, all of them
changing over time
Inequality is on only one important factor
Human created systems often go haywire complex with so many interactions and potential
ways of breakdown, its impossible to predict or prevent occasional accidents
Homer Dixon says in a global, multinational systems, there are inevitably going to be
meltdowns he says you cant identify the importance of one particular factor over others
We lack the brains, ingeneuity and technology to disentangle the mesh of interacting causes
Humans versus monkeys some theories of war are based on evolutionary psychology
konrad lorenz adgued that animals are naturally aggressive and this shows up as warfare
However, the organised sustained warfare of humans differes from territorial fights between
Sociologists wonder we get much mileage from comparing human societies to animal societies.
There have been wars throughout human history .. but not continuously or in all places why
the differential occurrence?
Freud argued that humans are inherently violent a result of aggreesive impulsive that get
magnified by repressed sexuality repression of sexual impulses can lead to violence and
aggression ….
However Freudian theories dont explain when or how they occur
Warlike rulers play a part in warfare such leaders often come to power in times of crisis
leaders are important can provoke wars, mobilise public sentiment, etc
Population pressures Malthusian theories about war focus on the role of expanding
population and diminishing sources positive checks on population .. .like starvation, plague
and war would occur in high-fertility, relatively impoverished parts of the world .
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Some have highlighted the role of young people in war making .. strong and healthy 15-25
years have a lot of energy in many high-fertility societies, surplus number of young people
with nothing to do easily mobilised religious and ideologies dont lead to violence unless a
youth bulge is present to actualise ideological demands
Societies with a food surplus agriculture or industrial or industrial societies are about the
best able to carry out modern warfare need to have material surplus to engage in warfare
Role of capitalism warfare is especially common in capitalist times its always
expansionary always going to war with other capitalists …. To try to subjugate less
developed countries .
Some wars make no economic sense no benefit first WW1 germans challenged England
country vs country, nationalism, not capitalism wars existed before capitalism also
exists in countries that dont follow capitalism
War is a power game where different countries try to threaten and challenge their competitors
to assume control over large stretches of the world
Very often theres a lot of irrationality in war starts out to be a rational contest
If we imagine that nations make wars thinking that they’re playing a power game,
chronological game the problem with this model is that much of what humans do under
threat is irrational war assumes perfect knowledge and perfect rationality
Many societies pretend they behave rationally when they go to war
Hate and fear often triumph over reason in wartime
Frances Stewart a specialist on conflict in developing regions of the world, offers her own set
of theories she reports that you are unlikely to have wars without supportive leaders…
economic anxiety is what sets of wars exploitation by other countries …
Horizontal inequality not class euqlaity but in equalty between different groups within
the same rank
One group trying to ensure its not endangered or rubbed out by the other group. E.g
Jordanians and palestenians fearing and hating each other, barriers and impediments to
each other in Africa, tribal animosities groups very similar but at each others throats
Total war is aform of war that is characteristic of modern industrial society
Typically it needs maximum mobilization of social and economic resources civilians
victimised too
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