War in Social Thought

By Bernard E. Harcourt

In light of the rich discussion at Foucault 3/13, I began researching the role of civil war—and of the war model in social thought more generally—and turned to Hans Joas and Wolfgang Knöbl’s book War in Social Thought: Hobbes to the Present (Princeton University Press, 2013).

I was surprised to discover that the authors report a “blindness of contemporary sociology, and, above all, social theory with regard to war or—more generally—to violence” (p. 2).

Even more surprised to read that, according to Joas and Knöbl, Michel Foucault spawned a historical perspective “from which war was of no special interest” (p. 15).

No special interest? It appears they have never read Foucault. I will need to look elsewhere.  Any suggestions are welcome…

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