Chapter

Why War?

in Why War?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226763880
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226763910 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226763910.003.0001
Why War?

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“Why War?” was the question that launched a celebrated correspondence between Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. Although those two great thinkers could not agree on a definitive answer, today there does seem to be a broad consensus. Popular beliefs and academic theories alike point overwhelmingly to the machinations and interests of elites and the struggle for power and security within and among nations. If not exactly false in any simple way, such a vision is nevertheless narrow and misleading. This book sketches out an alternative answer to the “Why War?” query—one that illuminates the role of culture and deliberative democracy. In a series of matched case studies it shows that codes defining the sacred and profane in social life and a limited pool of narrative structures within a civil discourse form the cultural bedrock upon which military policy is made legitimate and thinkable.

Keywords: security; war; power struggle; deliberative democracy; case studies; social life; military policy

Chapter.  14148 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Military History

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