Although the horrors of war are manifest, academic debate is dominated by accounts that reinforce the concept of warfare as a rational project. Seeking to explain this paradox - to uncover the motivations at the core of warring communities - Theo Farrell explores the cultural forces that have shaped modern Western conflict. Farrell finds that the norms of war, shared beliefs about what is right and what works, are created and embraced not only by polities and military organizations, but also by constituencies throughout civil society. Culture, he demonstrates, accounts for all core areas of military activity and at every level, sometimes with puzzling results. Tracing the lineage of the modern military and ranging from historical examples to charged contemporary issues, this provocative book goes to the heart of the relationship between society and war.
Theo Farrell is senior lecturer in international security at the University of Exeter. He is author of Weapons Without a Cause: The Politics of Weapons Acquisition in the United States and co editor (with Terry Terriff) of The Sources of Military Change: Culture, Politics, Technology.