University of Sussex

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ESRC Research Fellow 2004-5

Professor Martin Shaw

Understanding armed violence against civilians: genocide and risk-transfer war

This programme aims to develop a historical-sociological understanding of the significance of armed violence against civilians in two different contexts. First, in theoretical research for a book on genocide and social theory, the researcher will develop his distinctive understanding of genocide as an illegitimate form of war in which civilian groups as such are the enemy. The study will root the understanding of genocide in sociological theory, understanding genocide as a form of action and conflict comparable to war, and as a mutation of modern forms of military-political power. Second, in empirically grounded research on risks of war, the researcher will investigate the meaning and relationships of risks to life and mediated political risks in early 21st Century war. This project will develop a new sociological conception of Western war and militarism by investigating how ideas of risk have become central to the practice and theory of war, in the context of the 2003 Iraq War and other Western wars since 1990. The programme will contribute towards developing an understanding of the forms, significance, explanation and moral and political limits of violence against civilians in armed conflicts in 21st Century society, and so contribute to its prevention.

Fellowship duration: 1 January 2004-31 December 2005