This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: peaceful visions based on a conviction that prosperity leads
to democracy and democracy guarantees peace.
Hobbes’s world, filled with fear and distrust, seems closer to reality after 9/11, when the world achieved certain Nietzschean dimensions.
For Nietzsche the ultimate cause of war was the death of God, i.e. the
loss of the significance of the sphere of sacrum. The end of sacrum
would be followed by the end of state and politics. This, in turn would
lead to the arrival of the last man, which Hassner interprets as the onset
of a hedonistic passive nihilism.
In Nietzsche’s world the terrorist attack on America can be interpreted as a vehement rejection of the relativistic, God-less world of consumerism and a manifestation of heroic courage and apocalyptic destruction including self-destruction.
The Marxist element, informing the understanding and the reading of 9/11, is most pronounced in an article by Pamuk (2001) who
stresses that the South and the East, i.e. African, Latin American and
Asian societies, although they may condemn terrorism as such, were
united in a feeling of satisfaction that this time it was the powerful U.S.
who was attacked.
This reorientation in the philosophical perception of the world
may lead to dire consequences. As a result of the attack, the bourgeois
peaceful values may be rejected in favour of Manichaeism, which represents the world as a simplistic dichotomy. In such a world the terrorists
will be instantly identified as evil, while the Western societies will naturally be good. This, in consequence, will lead to an unnecessary increase
in violence, as a war against evil is by definition a just war. The concept of ‘war’ in the humanities 85 4. Social studies and the concept of ‘war’
The Second Gulf War between the US and Iraq has stimulated much discussion between American academics on American foreign policy. Some
of the sociologists published their views in the journal Political power
and social theory, vol. 16. I will review this issue, not so much to represent their criticism of the US government’s foreign policy, but as to discover what image of war transpires from their writings.
Roxborough (2003a) defines war as a political, social, cultural as
well as technical activity. He does not evaluate it, but rather sees it as one
of the institutions of social life. He offers an overview of the research
conducted within historical sociology and argues that war was a major
factor in the growth of states, in the causation of revolutions (which he
also sees as positive forces of social change), in the achievement of democracy, and women’s rights movements. In the ‘war and society’ approaches to the topic, he points to the increased interest in the so-called
home front and such issues as: how women and minorities were caught
up in the war process, the impact war had on communities (esp. through
patriotic pageantry and rituals of collective mourning), the image of war
in the popular consciousness (movies, comics) and the relationship between war an...
View Full Document