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Challenging the prevailing belief that organised violence is experiencing historically continuous decline, this book provides an in-depth sociological analysis that shows organised violence is, in fact, on the rise. Malešević demonstrates that violence is determined by organisational capacity, ideological penetration and micro-solidarity, rather than biological tendencies, meaning that despite pre-modern societies being exposed to spectacles of cruelty and torture, such societies had no organisational means to systematically slaughter millions of individuals. Malešević suggests that violence should not be analysed as just an event or process, but also via changing perceptions of those events and processes, and by linking this to broader social transformations on the inter-polity and inter-group levels he makes his key argument that organised violence has proliferated. Focusing on wars, revolutions, genocides and terrorism, this book shows how modern social organisations utilise ideology and micro-solidarity to mobilise public support for mass scale violence.
Challenging the prevailing belief that organised violence is experiencing historically continuous decline, this book provides an in-depth sociological analysis that shows organised violence is, in fact, on the rise. Malešević demonstrates that violence is determined by organisational capacity, ideological penetration and micro-solidarity, rather than biological tendencies, meaning that despite pre-modern societies being exposed to spectacles of cruelty and torture, such societies had no organisational means to systematically slaughter millions of individuals. Malešević suggests that violence should not be analysed as just an event or process, but also via changing perceptions of those events and processes, and by linking this to broader social transformations on the inter-polity and inter-group levels he makes his key argument that organised violence has proliferated. Focusing on wars, revolutions, genocides and terrorism, this book shows how modern social organisations utilise ideology and micro-solidarity to mobilise public support for mass scale violence.
Challenging the prevailing belief that organised violence is experiencing historically continuous decline, this book provides an in-depth sociological analysis that shows organised violence is, in fact, on the rise. Malešević demonstrates that violence is determined by organisational capacity, ideological penetration and micro-solidarity, rather than biological tendencies, meaning that despite pre-modern societies being exposed to spectacles of cruelty and torture, such societies had no organisational means to systematically slaughter millions of individuals. Malešević suggests that violence should not be analysed as just an event or process, but also via changing perceptions of those events and processes, and by linking this to broader social transformations on the inter-polity and inter-group levels he makes his key argument that organised violence has proliferated. Focusing on wars, revolutions, genocides and terrorism, this book shows how modern social organisations utilise ideology and micro-solidarity to mobilise public support for mass scale violence.
During two terrifying days and nights in early September 1941, the lives of nearly two thousand men, women, and children were taken savagely by their neighbors in Kulen Vakuf, a small rural community straddling today's border between northwest Bosnia and Croatia. This frenzy—in which victims were butchered with farm tools, drowned in rivers, and thrown into deep vertical caves—was the culmination of a chain of local massacres that began earlier in the summer. In Violence as a Generative Force, Max Bergholz tells the story of the sudden and perplexing descent of this once peaceful multiethnic community into extreme violence. This deeply researched microhistory provides provocative insights to questions of global significance: What causes intercommunal violence? How does such violence between neighbors affect their identities and relations? Contrary to a widely held view that sees nationalism leading to violence, Bergholz reveals how the upheavals wrought by local killing actually created dramatically new perceptions of ethnicity—of oneself, supposed "brothers," and those perceived as "others." As a consequence, the violence forged new communities, new forms and configurations of power, and new practices of nationalism. The history of this community was marked by an unexpected explosion of locally executed violence by the few, which functioned as a generative force in transforming the identities, relations, and lives of the many. The story of this largely unknown Balkan community in 1941 provides a powerful means through which to rethink fundamental assumptions about the interrelationships among ethnicity, nationalism, and violence, both during World War II and more broadly throughout the world.
War is a highly complex and dynamic form of social conflict. This book demonstrates the importance of using sociological tools to understand the changing character of war and organised violence. The author offers an original analysis of the historical and contemporary impact that coercion and warfare have on the transformation of social life, and vice versa. Although war and violence were decisive components in the formation of modernity most analyses tend to shy away from the sociological study of the gory origins of contemporary social life. In contrast, this book brings the study of organised violence to the fore by providing a wide-ranging sociological analysis that links classical and contemporary theories with specific historical and geographical contexts. Topics covered include violence before modernity, warfare in the modern age, nationalism and war, war propaganda, battlefield solidarity, war and social stratification, gender and organised violence, and the new wars debate.
This is a biography of a borderland between Russia and Poland, a region where, in 1925, people identified as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived side by side. Over the next three decades, this mosaic of cultures was modernized and homogenized out of existence by the ruling might of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and finally, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. By the 1950s, this "no place" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mix of peoples that defined the region was destroyed. Brown's study is grounded in the life of the village and shtetl, in the personalities and small histories of everyday life in this area. In impressive detail, she documents how these regimes, bureaucratically and then violently, separated, named, and regimented this intricate community into distinct ethnic groups. Drawing on recently opened archives, ethnography, and oral interviews that were unavailable a decade ago, A Biography of No Place reveals Stalinist and Nazi history from the perspective of the remote borderlands, thus bringing the periphery to the center of history. We are given, in short, an intimate portrait of the ethnic purification that has marked all of Europe, as well as a glimpse at the margins of twentieth-century "progress." Table of Contents: Glossary Introduction 1. Inventory 2. Ghosts in the Bathhouse 3. Moving Pictures 4. The Power to Name 5. A Diary of Deportation 6. The Great Purges and the Rights of Man 7. Deportee into Colonizer 8. Racial Hierarchies Epilogue: Shifting Borders, Shifting Identities Notes Archival Sources Acknowledgments Index This is a biography of a borderland between Russia and Poland, a region where, in 1925, people identified as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived side by side. Over the next three decades, this mosaic of cultures was modernized and homogenized out of existence by the ruling might of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and finally, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. By the 1950s, this "no place" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mix of peoples that defined the region was destroyed. Brown's study is grounded in the life of the village and shtetl, in the personalities and small histories of everyday life in this area. In impressive detail, she documents how these regimes, bureaucratically and then violently, separated, named, and regimented this intricate community into distinct ethnic groups. Drawing on recently opened archives, ethnography, and oral interviews that were unavailable a decade ago, A Biography of No Place reveals Stalinist and Nazi history from the perspective of the remote borderlands, thus bringing the periphery to the center of history. Brown argues that repressive national policies grew not out of chauvinist or racist ideas, but the very instruments of modern governance - the census, map, and progressive social programs - first employed by Bolshevik reformers in the western borderlands. We are given, in short, an intimate portrait of the ethnic purification that has marked all of Europe, as well as a glimpse at the margins of twentieth century "progress." Kate Brown is Assistant Professor of History at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. A Biography of No Place is one of the most original and imaginative works of history to emerge in the western literature on the former Soviet Union in the last ten years. Historiographically fearless, Kate Brown writes with elegance and force, turning this history of a lost, but culturally rich borderland into a compelling narrative that serves as a microcosm for understanding nation and state in the Twentieth Century. With compassion and respect for the diverse people who inhabited this margin of territory between Russia and Poland, Kate Brown restores the voices, memories, and humanity of a people lost. --Lynne Viola, Professor of History, University of Toronto Samuel Butler and Kate Brown have something in common. Both have written about Erewhon with imagination and flair. I was captivated by the courage and enterprise behind this book. Is there a way to write a history of events that do not make rational sense? Kate Brown asks. She proceeds to give us a stunning answer. --Modris Eksteins, author of Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age Kate Brown tells the story of how succeeding regimes transformed a onetime multiethnic borderland into a far more ethnically homogeneous region through their often murderous imperialist and nationalist projects. She writes evocatively of the inhabitants' frequently challenged identities and livelihoods and gives voice to their aspirations and laments, including Poles, Ukrainians, Germans, Jews, and Russians. A Biography of No Place is a provocative meditation on the meanings of periphery and center in the writing of history. --Mark von Hagen, Professor of History, Columbia University
Despite profound disagreement on whether identities are essential or existential, primordial or constructed, singular or multiple, there is little dispute over whether identities exist or not. In this provocative study, Sinisa Malesevic interrogates the unproblematic use of concepts of identity, and in particular national or ethnic identity.

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