Transformations of Warfare in the Contemporary World

Edited by John Torpey and David Jacobson
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1313-0
Publication: Jun 16

HC: $100.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1312-3
Publication: Jun 16

Ebook: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1314-7
Publication: Jun 16

224 pages
5.5 x 8.25

Essays that explore some of the profound changes taking place in the realm of warfighting today


Today’s warfare has moved away from being an event between massed national populations and toward small numbers of combatants using high-tech weaponry. The editors of and contributors to the timely collection Transformations of Warfare in the Contemporary World show that this shift reflects changes in the technological, strategic, ideological, and ethical realms.

The essays in this volume discuss
·;the waning connection between citizenship and soldiering;
·;the shift toward more reconstructive than destructive activities by militaries;
·;the ethics of irregular or asymmetrical warfare;
·;the role of novel techniques of identification in military settings;
·;the stress on precision associated with targeted killings and kidnappings;
·;the uses of the social sciences in contemporary warfare.

In his concluding remarks, David Jacobson explores the extent to which the contemporary transformation of warfare is a product of a shift in the character of the combatants themselves.

Contributors include: Ariel Colonomos, Roberto J. González, Travis R. Hall, Saskia Hooiveld, Rob Johnson, Colonel C. Anthony Pfaff, Ian Roxborough, and the editors


Transformations of Warfare in the Contemporary World addresses ‘new forms of war’ from a sociological perspective. It does not try to present some gazetteer of the military future; rather, the editors and contributors discuss the implications of some obvious trends. The chapters are outstanding and thought provoking, getting precisely at the critical issues facing ‘core militaries,’ recent events in Iraq, biometrics, and heroism and its link to the commemoration literature. There is no question that the issues are relevant and important, and the editors and contributions have exactly the type of skill and intellectual curiosity needed for this work.”
Miguel A. Centeno, Musgrave Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Princeton University and co-author of Global Capitalism: A Sociological Perspective

“Transformations of Warfare in the Contemporary World provides a fresh account of some of the recent developments in warfare. The editors and contributors help elucidate some of the trends and changes in modern warfare; this puts the new developments into a social, political, and cultural context. The book’s strength lies in the fact that the contributors engage with the developments in modern warfare yet have that reflexive capacity to see some of the problematic sides. This collection fills a real gap in the literature.”
Andreas Hess, Senior Lecturer of Sociology at University College Dublin and author of The Political Theory of Judith N. Shklar: Exile from Exile

"Transformations of Warfare in the Contemporary World is both timely and topical, and is recommended for academics in the fields of political science, public policy, sociology, philosophy, and ethics. It is also a must-read for strategists and military policymakers as members of Western nations try to understand the challenges they are facing in these times of transformational warfare."
—International Social Science Review

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments


1 Warfare without Warriors? Changes in Contemporary Warfare and the Demise of the Citizen-Soldier - John Torpey and Saskia Hooiveld
2 The Changing Character and Enduring Nature of War: The Collision of State and Substate Polities - Rob Johnson
3 Plus Ça Change: War and State Building - Ian Roxborough
4 A Crisis of Norms: Fighting Irregular Wars Well - Colonel C. Anthony Pfaff
5 Searching for Red and Blue in the Fog of Gray: The Development and Deployment of U.S. Military Biometrics in Iraq and Afghanistan - Travis R. Hall
6 Precision Warfare and the Case for Symmetry: Targeted Killings and Hostage Taking - Ariel Colonomos
7 Militarizing Ethnography: The Pentagon’s Use and Abuse of Culture - Roberto J. González

Conclusion: Postnational Warfare -David Jacobson


About the Author(s)

John C. Torpey is Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and author of Making Whole What Has Been Smashed: On Reparations Politics and The Invention of the Passport: Surveillance, Citizenship, and the State.

David Jacobson is the Founding Director of the Global Initiative on Civil Society and Conflict at the University of South Florida, and author of both Of Virgins and Martyrs: Women and Sexuality in Global Conflict and Rights Across Borders: Immigration and the Decline of Citizenship.


In the Series

  • Politics, History, and Social Change edited by John C. Torpey

    The Politics, History, and Social Change series, edited by John C. Torpey, disseminates serious works that analyze the social changes that have transformed our world during the twentieth century and beyond. The main topics addressed include international migration; human rights; the political uses of history; the past and future of the nation-state; decolonization and the legacy of imperialism; and global inequality. The series will also translate into English outstanding works by scholars writing in other languages.