Department of Political Science

Gorm Harste

Governing Warfare: The History of Warfare and the Mythological Unity between Politics and Warfare

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

  • Department of Political Science

It would seem as though warfare has gotten out of control, not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also in Central Africa. The paper outlines the strategic history of politically controlled warfare since the early Enlightenment. The argument is that control is implausible. The idea of control has its origins in a - some say 1st - generation of warfare, where armies were concentrated and could be controlled by political masters who were also acclaimed as warfare "geniuses". With subsequent generations of warfare, however, the control of war cannot be replaced by a control of military administration. While organisation systems continue to make some kind of political control possible, this is not the case in relation to wars. The organisation system is the in-between that should mediatise politics and war but is not functionally equivalent to just and unjust wars. The paper investigates the risks of lacking unity and displays the organisational trap to the fatal political myth of controlled warfare: Does it come from the military organisation system itself, from political ideologies of goal-rational governance, or from the chameleonic logic of wars?


Original languageEnglish
Publication year2008
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventNordic Sociology Association - Nordic Sociology Association, Denmark
Duration: 14 Aug 200817 Aug 2008


ConferenceNordic Sociology Association
CityNordic Sociology Association

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ID: 12987459