Towards an Embodied Sociology of War

McSorley, Kevin (2014). Towards an Embodied Sociology of War. The Sociological Review, 62(2_suppl) pp. 107–128.



While sociology has historically not been a good interlocutor of war, this paper argues that the body has always known war, and that it is to the corporeal that we can turn in an attempt to develop a language to better speak of its myriad violences and its socially generative force. It argues that war is a crucible of social change that is prosecuted, lived and reproduced via the occupation and transformation of myriad bodies in numerous ways from exhilaration to mutilation. War and militarism need to be traced and analysed in terms of their fundamental, diverse and often brutal modes of embodied experience and apprehension. This paper thus invites sociology to extend its imaginative horizon to rethink the crucial and enduring social institution of war as a broad array of fundamentally embodied experiences, practices and regimes.

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