Historical Sociology has long been linked with a ‘bellicist’ tradition in social theory, especially in its neo-Weberian mode. Its initial adoption by International Relations scholars was partially due to the attention paid by scholars such as Giddens, Mann, Tilly and Skocpol in terms of the focus on the international as a realm of geopolitical competition, and its concurrent effects on and interactions with states and societies. The focus on war as part of the process of state-building became entrenched in the IR literature (if not a dominant mode of thinking about war). Furthermore, Mann and Shaw have both produced rich accounts of the role of militarism as part of the constitution of modern societies.

However, as the neo-Weberian forms of historical sociology became subject to increased scrutiny for their relatively narrow account of the international, the focus on war was less pronounced within historical sociological accounts of IR. Despite playing a role in sociologies of collective action, the scholarship in IR has moved increasingly away from an account of historicised dynamics of war and society. As such, a reintegration of these concerns is a potential area of renewal within the Historical Sociology of IR. The study of the micro-dynamics of war, its cultural and social contexts, etc. have increased in the field, but there has been less reflection on its historicity and interrelations with other dimensions of the international such as political economy and diplomacy.

The proposed panel seeks to reconnect the sociology of war with its history, drawing on newer sociologies of war, but also seeking to revisit and rethink the links with past scholarship. The panel invites contributions from any theoretical perspective within the broad remit of historical sociology looking at various dimensions of war and violence: practices, structures, organization and lineages.

Possible paper topics include:

•    Revisions or critiques of standard historical sociological models of war/state-making

•    Application of historical sociology to war/state-making in novel forms

•    The application of war/state-building models to more recent cases

•    Non-statist, historical sociologies of war and violence

•    Historical sociological treatments of war and violence as rivals for mainstream explanations (e.g. political science)

•    Historical sociology and technologies of war: battle-spaces; high-tech war; insurgency and counter-insurgency; revolution and revolutionary war

Please send paper proposals to: Bryan Mabee – b.mabee@qmul.ac.uk

The deadline for panel submissions is Nov. 27.

Historical Sociology and International Relations Working Group
British International Studies Association
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