Taking place

‘new wars’ versus global wars

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Author: Stephen Reyna1
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  • 1 Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology and University of Manchester
18 Plumbley Drive
Old Trafford
Manchester M16 9QQ

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We are told we are living in an age of globalisation; that in this age we are bedevilled by ‘new wars’ and that to combat such wars we should impose ‘benign imperialism’. The ‘new wars’ standpoint is said to be the ‘most illuminating’ representation of contemporary warfare. The present paper has four tasks. The first critiques the ‘new wars’ perspective. The second proposes an alternative ‘global wars’ approach, which suggests that certain of the conflicts termed ‘new wars’ might be usefully understood as neo‐colonial forms of old colonial global warring. The third formulates and empirically supports a ‘global warring hypothesis’ that explains why such warring is increasing in the current conjunction. The fourth task is to decide whether the ‘new wars’ representation is, indeed, ‘illuminating’. In the course of performing these chores readers encounter a bull in the china shop and learn that taking place is taking [violently] place.


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