Sociology and Military Studies: Broadening the Perspective, Using the Classics

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Emeritus Professor in Sociology and Organization Studies
Tilburg University
Netherlands Defence Academy
Address: Netherlands
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 2

It has often been overlooked that sociology was founded in times and societies where war and the military were common affairs. Therefore it is not surprising that sociology has a lot to say about these impactful phenomena. This, however, has not always been acknowledged in the history of this discipline, even though military sociology as a subdiscipline has matured since WWII. This article points at the possibility of presenting an overview of classical sociology’s significance for the study of the armed forces, especially in questions that are of a substantive rational nature. The case of Georg Simmel is presented as an example; it appears that the sociological study of the armed forces and their actions can profit from the insights of this sociologist with respect to: positions and numbers in networks; conflict dynamics; secrecy and trust; and the position of the stranger. At the end, the article advocates the development of a sociology that studies the more operational side of the armed forces, taking the interests of all people who are involved in conflicts into account.

Keywordssociology, armed forces, founding parents, substantive rationality, Goerg Simmel, military operations, military beliefs, “hostilization”
Publication date25.03.2021
Number of characters39510
100 rub.
When subscribing to an article or issue, the user can download PDF, evaluate the publication or contact the author. Need to register.

Number of purchasers: 0, views: 858

Readers community rating: votes 0

1. Adler P.S., Jermier J. (2005) Developing a field with more soul: standpoint theory and public policy research for management scholars. Academy of Management Journal 48(6): 941–944. DOI: 10.5465/AMJ.2005.19573091

2. Autessere S. (2014) Going micro: emerging and future peacekeeping research. International Peacekeeping 21(4): 492–500. DOI: 10.1080/13533312.2014.950884

3. Ben-Ari E. (1989) Masks and soldiering: The Israeli army and the Palestinian uprising. Current Anthropology 4(4): 372–389.

4. Berger P., Luckman Th. (1984) The Social Construction of Reality. A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

5. Bhambra G.K., Santos B.S. (2017) Introduction: global challenges for sociology. Sociology. 51(1): 3–10. DOI: 10.1177/0038038516674665

6. Boëne B. (1995) Conditions d’emergence et de développement d’une sociologie specialisée: le cas de la sociologie militaire aux Etats-Unis. Ph.D. thesis. Paris: University of Paris V René Descartes.

7. Bollen M., Soeters J. (2010) Partnering with ‘strangers’. In: Soeters J., Fenema P.C., Beeres R. (eds.) Managing Military Organizations. Theory and Practice. London and New York: Routledge.

8. Burt R.S. (1995) The social structure of competition. In: N. Nohria and R.G. Eccles (eds.), Networks and Organizations: Structure, Form and Action. Boston: Harvard University Press.

9. Caforio G. (2003) Some historical notes. In G. Caforio (ed.) Handbook of the Sociology of the Military. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers: 7–26.

10. Caforio G., Nuciari М. (eds) (2018) Handbook of the Sociology of the Military. Cham: Springer.

11. Carlton-Ford St., Ender M. (2013) The Routledge Handbook of War and Society: Iraq and Afghanistan. London and New York: Routledge.

12. Chayes S. (2006) The Punishment of Virtue. Inside Afghanistan after the Taliban. London: Penguin Books.

13. Christia F. (2012) Alliance Formation in Civil Wars. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

14. Collins R. (2011) C-escalation and D-escalation: a theory of the time-dynamics of conflict. American Sociological Review 77(1): 1–20. DOI:10.1177/0003122411428221

15. Coser L. (1963) Peaceful settlements and the dysfunctions of secrecy. Journal of Conflict Resolution 7(3): 246-253.

16. Cotesta V. (2017) Classical sociology and the First World War: Weber, Durkheim, Simmel and Scheler in the trenches. History 102(351): 432–449. DOI:10.1111/1468-229X.12456

17. Dahrendorf R. (1968) Pfade aus Utopia. Arbeiten zur Theorie und Methode der Soziologie (Gesammelte Abhandlungen 1). München: Piper & Co Verlag.

18. Dandeker Chr. (1990) Surveillance, Power and Modernity: Bureaucracy and Discipline from 1700 to the Present Day. Cambridge: Polity Press.

19. Elster J. (2000) Ulysses Unbound. Studies in Rationality, Precommitment, and Constraints. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

20. Ender M.G. (2009) American Soldiers in Iraq. McSoldiers or Innovative Professionals? London and New York: Routledge.

21. Farrell Th. (2010) Improving in war: Military adaptation and the British in Helmand province, Afghanistan 2006-2009. Journal of Strategic Studies 33(4): 567–594. DOI: 10.1057/ipr.2013.19

22. Giddens A., Sutton Ph.W. (2013) Sociology. 7th edn. Cambridge: Polity Press.

23. Granovetter M. (1973) The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology 78(6): 1360–1380.

24. Granovetter M. (1983) The strength of weak ties: A network theory revisited. Sociological Theory, 1(X), 201–233.

25. Grutzpalk J. (2002) Blood feud and modernity: Max Weber’s and Emile Durkheim’s theories. Journal of Classical Sociology 2(2): 115–134. DOI: 10.1177/1468795X02002002854

26. Joas H., Knöbl W. (2013 [2008]) War in Social Thought: Hobbes to the Present. Princeton NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press.

27. Kümmel G., Prüfert A. (2000) (eds) Military Sociology: The Richness of a Discipline. Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos Verlaggesellschaft.

28. Levine D.N. (1977) Simmel at a distance: On the history and systematics of the sociology of the stranger. Sociological Focus 10(1): 15–29.

29. Levy D., Reinecke J., Manning S. (2016) The political dynamics of sustainable coffee: contested value regimes and the transformation of sustainability. Journal of Management Studies 53(3): 364–401. DOI: 10.1111/joms.12144

30. Levy Y. (2010) The hierarchy of military death. Citizenship Studies 14(4): 345–361. DOI:10.1080/13621025.2010.490030

31. Lipksky M. (2010 [1980]) Street-level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services. New York: Russel Sage Foundation.

32. Lowry R.P. (1972) Toward a sociology of secrecy and security systems. Social Problems 19(4): 437–450.

33. Maleševic S. (2010a) The Sociology of War and Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

34. Maleševic S. (2010b) How pacifist were the founding fathers? War and violence in classical sociology. European Journal of Social Theory. 13(2): 193–212. DOI: 10.1017/S0003975611000257

35. Mannheim K. (1940) Man and Society in an Age of Reconstruction. Routledge and Kegan Paul: London.

36. Masuch M. (1991) The determinants of organizational harm. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 9: 79–102.

37. Mills Ch.W. (1959) The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.

38. Mills Ch.W. (2000 [1956]) The Power Elite, New Edition. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

39. Moskos Ch., Butler J.S. (1996) All That We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way. New York: Basic Books.

40. Moss K.R., Khurana R. (2009) Types and positions: The significance of Georg Simmel’s theories for organizational behavior. In: P.S. Adler (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Sociology and Organization Studies. Classical Foundations, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 291-306.

41. Obraztsov I. V. (2019) The institutionalization of military sociology: the Russian path of gains and losses. Journal of Political and Military Sociology 46(1): 124–163. DOI: 10.5744/jpms.2019.1005

42. Olonisakin F. (2000) Reinventing peacekeeping in Africa: Conceptual and legal issues in ECOMOG operations. The Hague and Boston: Kluwer Law International.

43. Pouligny B. (2006) Peace Operations Seen from Below. UN Missions and Local People. Bloomfield CT: Kumarian Press.

44. Resteigne D. (2012) Le Militaire en Opérations Multinationales. Regards Croisés en Afghanistan, en Bosnie, au Liban. Bruxelles: Bruylant.

45. Ritzer G. (1998) The McDonaldization Thesis: Explorations and Extensions. London: Sage.

46. Ruffa Ch. (2014) What peacekeepers think and do: An exploratory study of French, Ghanaian, Italian and South Korean armies in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Armed Forces and Society 40(2), 199–225. DOI:10.1177/0095327X12468856

47. Schuetz A. (1944) The stranger: an essay in social psychology. American Journal of Sociology 49(6): 499-507.

48. Schuetz A. (1945) The homecomer. American Journal of Sociology 50(5): 369–376.

49. Segal D., Burk J. (eds) (2012) Military Sociology. 4 vols. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

50. Shields P., Soeters J. (2017) Peaceweaving: Jane Addams, positive peace, and public administration. American Journal of Public Administration 47(3): 323–339. DOI: 10.1177/0275074015589629

51. Simmel G. (1902) The number of members as determining the sociological form of the group. American Journal of Sociology, 8(1): 1–46.

52. Simmel G. (1904) The sociology of conflict. I. American Journal of Sociology, 9(4): 490–525.

53. Simmel G. (1906) The sociology of secrecy and secret societies. American Journal of Sociology 11(4): 441–498.

54. Simmel G. (1909) The problem of sociology. American Journal of Sociology 15(3): 289–320.

55. Simmel G. (1955) Conflict & the Web of Group-Affiliations. New York etc.: Free Press.

56. Soeters J. (2005) Ethnic Conflict and Terrorism. The Origins and Dynamics of Civil Wars. London/New York: Routledge.

57. Soeters J. (2018) Sociology and Military Studies. Classical and Current Foundations. New York/London: Routledge.

58. Sorokin P. A. (1954) The Ways and Power of Love. Boston: Beacon Press.

59. Zerubavel E. (1997) Social Mindscapes. An Invitation to Cognitive Sociology. Cambridge, Mass./London: Harvard University Press.

Система Orphus