Military Violence in Its Own Right

The Microsocial Foundations of Physical Military Violence in Noncombat Situations

in Conflict and Society
View More View Less
  • 1 Ruppin Academic Center nirg@ruppin.ac.il
  • 2 Kinneret Academic College eyal1953@gmail.com
Restricted access

ABSTRACT

In this article, we use the case of the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories to offer a microsociological analysis of military violence in noncombat situations. Utilizing the insights of Randall Collins, we suggest that in order understand these encounters, the emotional dimensions of violent behaviors must be linked to the interactional dynamics that trigger the transformation of these emotions into violent actions. We review the emotional configurations that characterize military occupations and discuss a range of violent behaviors initiated by these emotions. Finally, our analysis goes beyond the microsociological level to complement Collins’s model by showing the trans-situational implications of our analysis. We focus on the emergence of violence leaders (the “violent few”), the importance of actual and real audiences, and the development of a violent military habitus.

Contributor Notes

NIR GAZIT is a lecturer in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the Ruppin Academic Center and a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His research interests include civil-military relations, border zones, state and military violence, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His recent articles have appeared in the International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, City and Community, Qualitative Sociology, International Sociology, International Political Sociology, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, and Sociology.

EYAL BEN-ARI was Professor of anthropology at the Hebrew University and is now Director of the Dan Shomron Institute for Society, Security and Peace in Kinneret Academic College. He has carried out research in Japan, Israel, Singapore and Hong Kong. His previous books include Body Projects in Japanese Childcare (1997), Mastering Soldiers (1998), and (with Zev Lehrer, Uzi Ben-Shalom, and Ariel Vainer) Rethinking the Sociology of Combat (2008). Among his edited books are (with Kobi Michael and David Kellen) The Transformation of the World of Warfare and Peace Support Operations (2009) and (with Jessica Glicken Turnley and Kobi Michael) Social Science and Special Operations Forces (2017).

Conflict and Society

Advances in Research

  • Abufarha, Nasser 2009. The Making of a Human Bomb: An Ethnography of Palestinian Resistance. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Baehr, Paul, and Randall Collins. 2005. “Review Forum—The Sociology of Almost Everything: Four Questions to Randall Collins about Interaction Ritual Chains.” Canadian Journal of Sociology Online, 2 February. http://cjsonline.ca/pdf/interactionritual.pdf (accessed 23 April 2005).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bar, Neta, and Eyal Ben-Ari. 2005. “Israeli Snipers in the Al-Aqsa Intifada: Killing, Humanity and Lived Experience.” Third World Quarterly 26 (1): 133152.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ben-Ari, Eyal. 1989. “Masks and Soldiering: The Israeli Army and the Palestinian Uprising.” Cultural Anthropology 4 (4): 372389.

  • Ben-Ari, Eyal. 1998. Mastering Soldiers: Conflict, Emotions, and the Enemy in an Israeli Military Unit. New York: Berghahn Books.

  • Ben-Ari, Eyal. 2008. “Between Violence and Restraint: Human Rights, Humanitarian Considerations, and the Israeli Military in the Al-Aqsa Intifada.” In The Moral Dimension of Asymmetrical Warfare: Counter-Terrorism, Western Values and Military Ethics, ed. Th. A. van Baarda and D.E.M. Verweij, 231246. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ben-Ari, Eyal, Meirav Maymon, Nir Gazit, and Ron Shatzberg. 2004. From Checkpoints to Flow-points: Sites of Friction between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinians. Jerusalem: Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ben-Ari, Eyal, Zeev Lerer, Uzi Ben-Shalom, and Ariel Vainer. 2010. Rethinking Contemporary Warfare: A Sociological View of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. New York: State University of New York Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bohbot, Amir. 2010. “The IDF Declares War on Social Networks.” [In Hebrew.] NRG, 23 December. http://www.nrgxo.ll/online/1/ART2/192/452.html.

    • Export Citation
  • Bowles, Samuel, and Herbert Gintis. 2011. A Cooperative Species: Human Reciprocity and Its Evolution. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Boyns, David, and Sarah Luery. 2015. “Negative Emotional Energy: A Theory of the ‘Dark-Side’ of Interaction Ritual Chains.” Social Sciences 4 (1): 148170.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bourke, Joanna. 1998. “Disciplining the Emotions: Fear, Psychiatry and the Second World War.” In War, Medicine and Modernity, ed. Roger Cooter, Mark Harrison, and Steve Sturdy, 225238. Thrupp Mill: Sutton.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bracken, Patrick J., and Celia Petty. 1998. Rethinking the Trauma of War. London: Free Association Books.

  • Breaking the Silence. 2017. “There Was This ‘Wild West’ Atmosphere.” http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/testimonies/database/704998 (accessed 18 May 2017).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brym, Robert J., and Yael Maoz-Shai. 2009. “Israeli State Violence during the Second Intifada: Combining New Institutionalist and Rational Choice Approaches.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 32 (7): 611626.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Caffrey, Jeffrey. 2010. “The Destruction of Conscience in the Winter Soldier.” In Anthropology and the Global Counterinsurgency, ed. John D. Kelly, Beatrice Jauregui, Sean T. Mitchell, and Jeremy Walton, 327342. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Collins, Randall. 2004. Interaction Ritual Chains. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Collins, Randall. 2008. Violence: A Micro-Sociological Theory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Connor, John. 2015. “‘Boredom in the Enemy’: The Intellectual and Imaginative Lives of Australian Soldiers in the Great War and Beyond.” First World War Studies 56 (1): 137159.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cooley, Alexander. 2005. Logics of Hierarchy: The Organization of Empires, States, and Military Occupations. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Davenport, Christian, Hank Johnston, and Carol Mueller, eds. 2005. Repression and Mobilization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • De Silva, Purnaka L. 2002. “Combat Modes, Mimesis and the Cultivation of Hatred: Revenge/Counter- Revenge Killings in Sri Lanka.” In Imagined Differences: Hatred and the Construction of Identity, ed. Guther Schlee, 215239. Hamburg: LIT Verlag.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dobbins, James, and Seth G. Jones. 2009. Occupying Iraq: A History of the Coalition Provisional Authority. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doumani, Beshera. 2004. “Scenes from Daily Life: The View from Nablus.” Journal of Palestine Studies 34 (1): 3750.

  • Elitzur, Yoel, and Nufar Yishai-Karin. 2012. “A Narrative Analysis of Israeli Soldiers’ Atrocities in the Intifada.” In The Blot of a Light Cloud: Israeli Soldiers, Army, and Society in the Intifada, ed. Yoel Elitzur, 3976. [In Hebrew.] Tel-Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ferguson, R. Brian. 2011. “Born to Live: Challenging the Killer Myths.” In Origins of Altruism and Cooperation, ed. Robert. W. Sussman and C. Robert Cloninger, 249270. New York: Springer.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fry, Douglas P., ed. 2013. War, Peace and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Furst, Henrik, and Gerhard Kummel. 2011. “Emotions: A Neglected Dimension of the Expeditionary Mindset.” In Core Values and the Expeditionary Mindset: Armed Forces in Metamorphosis, ed. Henrik Furst and Gerhard Kummel, 215224. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Galtung, Johan. 1969. “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research.” Journal of Peace Research 6 (3): 167191.

  • Gazit, Nir. 2009a. “Fragmented Sovereignty: Agency, Routine Politics, and Military Violence in Intifada Al-Aqsa.” [In Hebrew.] PhD diss., Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gazit, Nir. 2009b. “Social Agency, Spatial Practices and Power: The Micro-foundations of Fragmented Sovereignty in the Occupied Territories.” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 22 (1): 83103.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gazit, Nir. 2015. “State-sponsored Vigilantism: Jewish Settlers’ Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Sociology 49 (3): 438454.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gazit, Nir, and Robert Brym. 2011. “State-Directed Political Assassination in Israel: A Political Hypothesis.” International Sociology 26 (6): 116.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ghanim, Hunaida. 2005. “The Dialectic of Life and Death Under Israeli Occupation.” [In Hebrew.] Theory and Criticism 27: 18186.

  • Grassiani, Erella. 2013. Soldiering Under Occupation: Processes of Numbing among Israeli Soldiers in the Al-Aqsa Intifada. New York: Berghahn Books.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Grossman, Dave. 1995. On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.

  • Grossman, Dave, and Loren W. Christensen. 2007. On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace. Belleville, IL: PPCT Research Publications.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hajjar, Lisa. 2005 Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hockey, John. 2009. “Switch On: Sensory Work in the Infantry.” Work Employment and Society 23 (3): 477493.

  • Holmes, Richard. 1985. Acts of War: The Behavior of Man in Battle. New York: The Free Press.

  • Hughbank, Richard J. and Dave Grossman. 2013. “The Challenge of Getting Men to Kill: A View from Military Science.” In War, Peace and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views, ed. Douglas P. Fry, 495513. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross). 2010. The Roots of Behavior in War. Geneva: International Committee of the Red Cross.

  • Ingram, Paul, and Karen Clay. 2000. “The Choice-within-Constraints New Institutionalism and Implications for Sociology.” Annual Review of Sociology 26 : 52546.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Israeli Soldiers Brutally Attack Palestinians and ISM Activists on Bike Ride.” 2012. YouTube video, 2:15. Posted by “sergey semenenko,” 15 April. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqbNSXJ55HE.

    • Export Citation
  • Kalyvas, Stathis N. 2006. The Logic of Violence in Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Kelly, Tobias. 2006. “Documented Lives: Fear and the Uncertainties of Law During the Second Palestinian Intifada.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 12 (1): 89107.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • King, Anthony. 2013. The Combat Soldier: Infantry Tactics and Cohesion in the Twentieth and Twenty- First Centuries. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kiser, Edgar, and Shawn Bauldry. 2005. “Rational-Choice Theories in Political Sociology.” In The Handbook of Political Sociology, ed. Thomas Janoski, Robert Alford, Alexander Hicks, and Mildred A. Schwartz, 172186. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Koelble, Thomas A. 1995. “The New Institutionalism in Political Science and Sociology.” Comparative Politics 27 (2): 231243.

  • Lammers, Cornelis J. 2003Occupation Regimes Alike and Unlike: British, Dutch and French Patterns of Inter-Organizational Control of Foreign Territories.” Organization Studies 24 (9): 13791403.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lammers, Cornelis J. 2014. “The American Occupation Regime in Comparative Perspective: The Case of Iraq.” Armed Forces and Society 40 (1): 4970.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Macintyre, Donald. 2010. “Israeli Soldier Posts Photos of Palestinian Prisoner on Facebook.” Independent, 16 August. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israeli-soldier-posts- photos-of-palestinian-prisoner-on-facebook-2054450.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maeland, Bård, and Paul Otto Brunstad. 2009. Enduring Military Boredom: From 1750 to the Present. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Marker Cafe. 2010. “The Banality of Evil: Bursting and Laughing.” [In Hebrew.] 11 November. http:// cafe.themarker.com/post/1879081.

    • Export Citation
  • Maulucci, Thomas W., Jr. 2008. “Comparing the American Occupations of Germany and Iraq.” Yale Journal of International Affairs 3 (1): 120.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mitchell, Neil J. 2004. Agents of Atrocity: Leaders, Followers, and the Violation of Human Rights in Civil War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Nadelson, Theodore, 2005. Trained to Kill: Soldiers at War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

  • Ron, James. 2000. “Savage Restraint: Israel, Palestine and the Dialectics of Legal Repression.” Social Problems 47 (4): 44572.

  • Ron, James. 2003. Frontiers and Ghettos: State Violence in Serbia and Israel. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • Rosenfeld, Maya. 2004. “‘Pleasures of Duty’ of Occupiers, ‘Duty of Sumud’ of the Besieged: The Israeli Imposed Closure Regime in the Occupied West Bank” In Social Critique and Commitment: Essays in Honor of Henry Rosenfeld, ed. Majid Al-Haj, Michael Saltman, and Zvi Sobel, 207236. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rosenfeld, Maya. 2005. Confronting the Occupation: Work, Education, and Political Activism of Palestinian Families in a refugee Camp. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sasson-Levy, Orna. 2006. Identities in Uniform: Masculinity and Femininity in the Israeli Military. [In Hebrew.] Jerusalem: Magness University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Segal, Rafi, and Eyal Weizman, eds. 2003. A Civilian Occupation: The Politics of Israeli Architecture. London: Verso.

  • Shalit, Ben. 1988. The Psychology of Conflict and Combat. New York: Praeger.

  • Shay, Jonathan J. 1994. Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character. New York: Scribner.

  • Shovrim Shtika. 2017. “So They Sit Down There to Rest.” [In Hebrew.] http://www.shovrimshtika.org/testimonies/database/4219 (accessed 18 May 2017).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Solursh, Lionel Paul. 1989. “Combat Addiction: An Overview of Implications for Symptom Maintenance and Treatment Planning.” Journal of Traumatic Stress 2 (4): 451462.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Staats, Artur W. 1996. Behavior and Personality. New York: Springer.

  • Storr, Jim. 2009. The Human Face of War. London: Continuum International Publishing.

  • Stirk, Peter M.R. 2012. The Politics of Military Occupation. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

  • Swidler, Ann. 1986. “Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies.” American Sociological Review 51 (2): 273286.

  • Vainer, Ariel, and Ron Shatzberg. 2004. The “System” and the “Control”: The Organization of the Military for Activating Checkpoints in Judea and Samaria—The Case of the Kalandia Checkpoint. [In Hebrew.] Unpublished manuscript, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Walby, Sylvia. 2013. “Violence and Society: Introduction to an Emerging Field of Sociology.” Current Sociology 61 (2): 96111.

  • Zizek, Slavoj. 1989. The Sublime Object of Ideology. New York: Verso.

  • Zizek, Slavoj. 2002. “Are We at War? Do We Have an Enemy?.” London Review of Books 24 (10): 36. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v24/n10/zize01_.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zureik, Elia. 2007. “Constructing Palestine through Surveillance Practices.” In The Partition Motif in Contemporary Conflicts, ed. Smita Tewari Jassal and Eyal Ben-Ari, 122143. New Delhi: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 85 85 9
Full Text Views 6 6 0
PDF Downloads 3 3 0