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The Civilianization of War
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Book description

Distinguishing between civilians and combatants is a central aspect of modern conflicts. Yet such distinctions are rarely upheld in practice. The Civilianization of War offers new ways of understanding civilians' exposure to violence in war. Each chapter explores a particular approach to the political, legal, or cultural distinctions between civilians and combatants during twentieth-century and contemporary conflicts. The volume as a whole suggests that the distinction between combatants and non-combatants is dynamic and oft-times unpredictable, rather than fixed and reciprocally understood. Contributors offer new insights into why civilian targeting has become a strategy for some, and how in practice its avoidance can be so difficult to achieve. Several discuss distinct population groups that have been particularly exposed to wartime violence, including urban populations facing aerial bombing, child soldiers, captives, and victims of sexual violence. The book thus offers multiple perspectives on the civil–military divide within modern conflicts, an issue whose powerful contemporary resonance is all too apparent.


'The twentieth century saw greater protections for civilians in war as well as the mass targeting of non-combatants by states and non-state actors alike. This highly readable volume offers a coherent and thought provoking analysis of these two entangled trends.'

Joe Maiolo - King's College London

This collection addresses a subject of vital contemporary pertinence, that of the civilianization of war. Global in scope, multi-disciplinary in approach and theoretically sophisticated, the chapters provide stimulating case studies that together highlight the complex and changing nature of the civil-military divide as well as the tragic vulnerability of civilians.'

Talbot Imlay - Université Laval, Quebec

'Remarkable for both its multi-disciplinary perspective and historical and geographic coverage, this volume brings together an outstanding group of scholars to address an issue of critical significance: the causes and consequences of changes in the boundaries between combatants and civilians in war. A bold contribution to the literature on conflict.'

Stathis Kalyvas - University of Oxford

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  • 1 - Doing the Necessary: The Declaration of London and British Strategy, 1905–1915
    pp 23-46


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