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An Anthropology of War: Views from the Frontline

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An Anthropology of War

Views from the Frontline

Edited by Alisse Waterston

204 pages, 10 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-622-1 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (October 2008)

eISBN 978-0-85745-522-2 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“The methodologies vary, the approaches are both positivist and interpretive, with empirics drawing from public opinion polls, interviews, archives, and visual and textual analysis. The resulting collection offers a rich and insightful picture of Georgian women’s experiences over the last century…, a delightful example of scholarly explorations of identity and gender in a tumultuous political environment.” • Gender & Society

“This is the best book on the anthropology of war I have ever read… [The papers] are both pithy and theoretically informed. That, combined with the collection’s obvious contemporary political relevance and the exemplariness of the chapters as examples of the contemporary anthropology of war, makes it ideal for both university courses and even the public at large. If you want to read a book on the anthropology of war, or use one in your teaching, this is the one you should.” • Ethos

“…a little book with big ambitions... Each chapter shows in poignant and powerful ways how anthropologists can marshal evidence against war and related conflict.” • American Ethnologist

“It is sobering, but also provocative to look at war from the viewpoint of anthropologists, especially those who have had the unique experience of being in zones of war. These essays bring special insights, but also a passion missing in the usual journalistic accounts or scholarly reflections. The writers in this volume not only enlarge our perspective but move us emotionally - a rare and admirable combination.” • Howard Zinn


As we move deeper into the twenty-first century, power, lethal force, and injustice continue to explode violently into war, and the prospects for lasting peace look even bleaker. The horrors of modern warfare - the death, dehumanization, and destruction of social and material infrastructures - have done little to bring an end to armed conflict.

In this volume, leading chroniclers of war provide thoughtful and powerful essays that reflect on their ethnographic work at the frontlines. The contributors recount not only what they have seen and heard in war zones but also what is being read, studied, analyzed and remembered in such diverse locations as Colombia and Guatemala, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. In detailed reports from the field, they reflect on the important issue of “accountability” and offer explanations to discern causes, patterns, and practices of war. Through this unique lens, the contributors provide the insight and analysis needed for a deeper understanding of one of the greatest issues of our times.

Avram Bornstein, Paul E. Farmer, R. Brian Ferguson, Lesley Gill, Beatriz Manz, Carolyn Nordstrom, Stephen Reyna, Jose N. Vasquez

Alisse Waterston is Professor of Anthropology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Her work focuses on the human consequences of structural and systemic violence and inequality. Her publications include Love, Sorrow and Rage: Destitute Women in a Manhattan Residence, and Anthropology off the Shelf: Anthropologists on Writing, co-edited with Maria D. Vesperi.

Subject: Peace and Conflict StudiesTheory and Methodology
Area: Latin America and the CaribbeanMiddle East & Israel


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