Re: [sixties-l] War and male bonding

From: Michael W Bibby (
Date: Sun Jun 25 2000 - 01:22:28 CUT

  • Next message: monkerud: "Re: [sixties-l] War and male bonding"

    Carrol's point below is key in this thread and in any attempt to think
    outside "war"--it is the reification of "war" that serves to naturalize it
    and make it seem necessary or essential or "timeless," and thus, immutable
    to human life.

    But on the other hand: Although it may very well be that "war" is not a
    "thing" essential to human existence, how can we "think" outside
    it? I think it was Foucault who argued (in "War in the Filigree of
    Peace"?) that all forms of "modern civilization," ie., "civil" society,
    (and also implicitly for F.,a "civilization" rooted in Western traditions
    and notions of modernity), social relations meant to secure a peaceful
    civil existence has worked "war" into its very fabric as its necessary
    "other"--and that even the forms of social relations operate on the
    principles of "war." If discourse and knowledge themselves are so
    thoroughly invested in and productive of power relations that take
    "war" as their model, how can we think an outside to war? I believe that
    this is and must be possible, because I don't and can't believe that war
    is an "essential" and "necessary" condition--it's just that it's so
    reified that it's very difficult to dismantle.

    Michael Bibby
    Department of English
    Shippensburg University
    1871 Old Main Drive
    Shippensburg, PA 17257
    (717) 477-1723

    On Sat, 24 Jun 2000, Carrol Cox wrote:

    > Jerry West wrote:
    > > I am glad that you pointed out that war is a given part of the human
    > > condition.
    > Oh come now. There is absolutely no evidence of this. Humans (if you
    > are snobbish in your definition of humanity) have been around for about
    > 100,000 years, if you are less snobbish for around a half a million, give
    > or take a few hundred thousand. It is a matter of considerable debate
    > among anthropoligists just how violent the first 100,000 years were --
    > but it is pretty certain that war (in anything remotely like what we know
    > as war) has been around for not much more than 5000 years. And to
    > see what *most* "war" would have looked like up to the last 2000
    > years (or less) see Nestor's account of the war of his youth (a glorified
    > cattle raid) in the *Odyssey.*
    > Moreover -- for several hundred years now the men and women (e.g.,
    > Albright) who make wars are *not* the people who fight them. Don't
    > try to tell me that cultured gentlemen and ladies sitting in comforting
    > board rooms and deciding on the slaughter of millions are operating
    > out of any kind of "natural tendency to violence." War, like tiddlywinks
    > or double dating, is a social relation, not a "thing" with an essence.
    > Carrol Cox

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