Complex Emergencies

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Polity, Jan 22, 2008 - Political Science - 293 pages
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If you thought the point of war was to win, this book will make you think again.

David Keen questions the model of war as a contest between two sides aiming at political and military victory, and he also rejects the contrasting view that war represents a collapse into anarchy, mindless violence and ethnic hatred. Rather than a contest or a collapse, war is analysed as a system that has significant functions and that yields complex economic, political and psychological benefits. Some may be more interested in prolonging a war than in ending it. War may help elites to derail democracy and suppress dissent; it may be profitable for government and rebel actors; and it may allow armed groups to enjoy a sense of power over unarmed civilians.

This book argues that understanding the complex functions of wars alongside other forms of human disaster, such as famine and ethnic strife, is essential if we are to reduce suffering and move towards lasting peace agreements.

Complex Emergencies will be essential reading for students of development, political economy, political science and international relations.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
War
11
Greed Economic Agendas
25
Combatants and Their Grievances
50
Defining the Enemy
71
Famine
100
Aid
116
Information
149
Peace
171
Conclusion
215
Notes
222
Bibliography
252
Index
281
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

David Keen is Reader in Complex Emergencies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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