Rethinking War and the Body

Mcsorley, Kevin (2015). Rethinking War and the Body. In: Mcsorley, Kevin ed. War and the Body: Militarisation, Practice and Experience. War, Politics and Experience. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 233–244.



This collection has placed the body at the heart of critical thinking about war, giving embodiment and bodily issues an explicit analytic recognition and a centrality that they have often been denied in the annals and ontology of conventional war scholarship. It has sought to develop and elucidate an understanding of war, and its reproduction, in terms of the myriad affective, sensory and embodied practices, regimes and experiences through which war lives and breeds. While the collection confers much analytic attention on the institution and embodied practices of soldiering, it has also sought to be wide-ranging and inclusive in its concerns rather than problematizing any specific set of practices or bodies as the exclusive locus of war. Furthermore, rather than endorsing any particular empirical focus, singular method or specific theoretical perspective as the key to fleshing out such an understanding of war, the analytic agenda of this current collection has been to assert a deliberately plural corporeal turn in war studies. In bringing together a wide range of material on a variety of war-related themes, informed by a number of intellectual traditions and disciplinary backgrounds - including sociology, anthropology, history, philosophy, political science, and disability studies - this collection has aimed to open up and multiply future lines of enquiry. Its intention has also been to offer a variety of conceptual resources that may assist those who wish to follow these particular points of departure, or indeed who wish to trace any of the other myriad entanglements between war and the body. What follows in this concluding chapter then is not an attempt to comprehensively overview the numerous themes, ideas and suggestions that proliferate in this book, or integrate them into any sort of programmatic research schedule, but simply a highlighting of some of the potential research questions and directions that are brought to the surface via this plural corporeal turn in thinking through war.

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