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About the book
While it may be overkill to say that studying war is hell, it is certainly problematic. To participants, war is chaos, death and boredom - and hence incommunicable. To scholars who do not know the smell of gunpowder, war is mediated by silent artefacts and layered discourse. The must muster compassion without letting it distort analysis. And despite entrenced tradtions to the contrary, war cannot be comprehended in isolation from society.
To better understand the complex relationship between war and society, the two dozen contributors to this volume employ a broad variety of archaeological and anthropological tools, drawing where appropriate on history, political science and philosophy. The chapters are grouped under several heads, each prefaced by a helpful introduction. Topics include the theoretical conceptions of war in various disciplines; war in pre-state societies, and its relation to state formation; ritual war and mass graves; ancient weaponry and material culture; and warfare, discourse and identity. The examples rage from ancient Fiji to contemporary Croatia, and from Gilgamesh to The Terminator.
The conundrum of war resists solution. But with a generous mix of theoretical argument and dramatic case study, Warfare and Society has something for anyone, academic or amateur, who would wrestle with it.
Table of contents
John Carman European Journal of Archaeology
"However, the value and strength of the book lies in its wide coverage.
For students undertaking courses in archaeology, anthropology, and study of warfare it will prove extremely valuble, and also to their lecturers. It will deservedly find its place in many a library and on many a shelf."
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