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Late Modern War and the Geos

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mark GriffithsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This article works towards an ontology of war centred on the life of the planet, or geos. Noting a disciplinary tendency to focus on the makers of war, we ask what if our analyses of war begin not with the technologies of killing but with the life that is targeted? Our response proceeds in four sections. We first identify a “militarised ontology” of war that forms through the ways that militaries figure violence as spatially and temporally “precise” and thus distinct from longer-term environmental effects. We then argue that these ontological bounds persist also in critical scholarship on war. Writing against such ontological contingencies, we learn from feminist IR to set out a theoretical path for knowing war on different terms, from the perspective of the geos. From here our main contribution forms: attending to war ecologies and non/human health, war appears in a form that critically contrasts with a large part of current work in IR, it is no longer a primarily accelerated, aerial or remote activity but rather an enduring, terranean, and proximate intervention in the environment and the life it sustains. We close with explication of the significance of geos-centred study of war in IR and beyond.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Griffiths M, Redwood H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Political Sociology

Year: 2024

Volume: 18

Issue: 2

Print publication date: 01/06/2024

Online publication date: 12/04/2024

Acceptance date: 12/03/2024

Date deposited: 19/03/2024

ISSN (print): 1749-5679

ISSN (electronic): 1749-5687

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/ips/olae011


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