Defence As War

Authored by: Olivier Schmitt

Routledge Handbook Of Defence Studies

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138122505
eBook ISBN: 9781315650463
Adobe ISBN:


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Understanding war is necessary for a polity to build a proper defence against potential enemies. Once the obvious is stated, the issue of the relationship between war studies and defence studies remains to be explored in detail. In particular, it is worth investigating the ways war studies and defence studies interact, and how the latter can be informed by the former. Any proper exploration of the topic requires careful assessment of the scope of research falling under the umbrella of “war studies”. Yet, the term itself is elusive as “war studies” are organized around a research object (war) and do not constitute an academic discipline (in the sense of a set of inter-related particular epistemological, ontological, theoretical, and methodological concepts giving unity to a body of research 1 ). Therefore, instead of providing a “top-down” definition of war studies, this chapters begins with a brief history of its institutional development since World War II. From this brief examination, it is argued that the conditions under which “war studies” developed led to three distinctive characteristics: a sense of the dramatic importance of the subject, an emphasis on multidisciplinarity, and an effort to be policy-relevant. I then map some of the key areas of research for war studies, before illustrating the interactions between war and defence studies.

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