Critical Perspectives

Authored by: Richard Jackson

Routledge Handbook of Civil Wars

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  February  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415622585
eBook ISBN: 9780203105962
Adobe ISBN: 9781136255786

10.4324/9780203105962.ch7

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Abstract

The study of civil war has grown tremendously in recent decades, particularly since the end of the cold war, but also in the wake of the occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq by Coalition forces after 2001 (Kalyvas 2012). As this volume attests, the field is now very large and diverse, with contributions from many different academic disciplines, theoretical approaches and methodologies. In this context, it is perhaps something of a surprise that an explicitly ‘critical’ subfield of civil war research has not yet coalesced in the same way that it has in the related fields of security studies (see Booth 2004) and terrorism studies (see Jackson et al. 2009). It is not that there are no ‘critical’ studies of civil war and organised political violence – there are many important studies which challenge accepted wisdom and apply alternative analytical and normative perspectives (see, among others, Campbell 1998a; Hansen 2006; Kaufman 2001; Lemarchand 1994; Newman 2004; Richards 1996; Wilmer 2002; Zulaika 1984). Rather, there have to date been few attempts to systematise, articulate or develop what ‘critical’ civil war research might entail, and nor have many civil war scholars openly self-identified as ‘critical’ scholars.

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