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Sociology and Military Studies Summary

Sociology and Military Studies: Classical and Current Foundations by Joseph Soeters (Royal Netherlands Military Academy and Tilburg University, Netherlands)

This book examines the connection between sociology and the challenges faced by the modern military.

Military sociology has received little attention in the broader academic world, and is mostly focused on civil-military relations. This book seeks to address this gap and combines ideas, theories and insights from sociology's founding authors, with each chapter focusing on a specific thinker. There are chapters on Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Georg Simmel, Jane Addams, W. E. B. Du Bois, Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault, Morris Janowitz, Norbert Elias, Cornelis Lammers, Arlie Russell Hochschild, Cynthia Enloe and Bruno Latour, and each essay discusses their ideas and theories in relation to topics that are of concern in and around the military today. Military studies are taken in a broad sense here, so the volume encompasses a wide range of issues, including civil-military relations, military-political affairs, performance and outcomes of military operations, and organizational arrangements including technology and the composition, performance and well-being of personnel. The book intends to provide views and insights that will help the military to innovate their organizations and practices, not necessarily in the usual functional way of innovating (i.e. faster, more precise, etc.) but in a broader way.

This book will be of great interest to students of sociology, military studies, civil-military relations, war and conflict studies, and IR in general.

Sociology and Military Studies Reviews

'Soeters' book is a landmark study of military institutions and war. Steeped in the ideas of the founders of sociology and informed by the experience of contemporary war, Soeters demonstrates the relevance of classical and current social theory for understanding the social organization of violence. He shows by example how to plow new paths for studying the military and war. Written in a lively and accessible style, the book is an enthralling read for beginning and advanced scholars alike.' -- James Burk, Texas A&M University, USA

'This expansive vision of military sociology is an essential resource for the field. Soeters captures key connections between the founders of sociology and contemporary notions of war, peace and the everyday problems facing military organizations. These remarkable men and women of ideas come alive in this clear and compelling book.' -- Patricia Shields, Texas State University, USA

'This book is a comprehensive attempt to connect sociological insights with practical challenges the military faces. It is a book that military officers would need to read and study before engaging in operations.' -- Major-General Tony Bardalai, ret., Indian Armed Forces

About Joseph Soeters (Royal Netherlands Military Academy and Tilburg University, Netherlands)

Joseph Soeters is Professor of Organizational Sociology at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. He is the author/editor of numerous works, including co-editor of Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Military Studies (Routledge, 2014,) and Military Cooperation in Multinational Peace Operations (Routledge, 2008), and author of Ethnic Conflict and Terrorism (Routledge 2005).

Table of Contents



1. Max Weber: bureaucracy, leadership and military music

2. Emile Durkheim: the military group, culture and its consequences

3. Karl Marx: critical analyses of society and the military

4. George Simmel: networks, conflict, secrecy and the stranger

5. Jane Addams: from peace activism to pragmatic peace keeping

6. W.E.B. Dubois: race, diversity and inclusion, in society and the military

7. Erving Goffman: Total Institutions, interaction rituals, street level bureaucrats

8. Michel Foucault: discipline and surveillance in and by the military

9. Morris Janowitz: the professional soldier, civil-military relations and the AVF

10. Norbert Elias: decline of violence, habitus in combat, international relations

11. Cornelis Lammers: strikes and mutinies, occupational and administrative styles, isomorphism and cooperation

12. Arlie Russell Hochschild: emotions in organizations, and in the military

13. Cynthia Enloe: feminist views of the military and its surroundings

14. Bruno Latour: science and technology in society and the military

15. From the classics to the future in military studies: conclusions, themes and prospects

Additional information

Sociology and Military Studies: Classical and Current Foundations by Joseph Soeters (Royal Netherlands Military Academy and Tilburg University, Netherlands)
Taylor & Francis Ltd
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