5th Global Conference
War, Virtual War and Human Security
Monday 5th May - Wednesday 7th May 2008
Call for Papers
Is war an extension of politics by other means? The locomotive of technology? Is it humankind in its most natural state; or is human society - despite perceptions and ongoing conflict around the world today - actually moving toward an aversion to war and a state of peace? This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to provide a challenging forum for the examination and evaluation of the nature, purpose and experience of war, and its impacts on all aspects of security, human security and to communities across the world. Viewing war as a multi-layered, multi-factorial phenomenon, the conference series seeks to explore the historical, legal, social, human, religious, economic, and political contexts of conflicts, and assess the place of art, journalism, literature, music, the media and the internet in representation and interpretation of the experience of warfare.
In particular papers, workshops, reports, and presentations are invited on any of the following themes;
1. How do we Talk about and Describe War?
Portrayal, awareness, language and expression. How do we come to understand war in contemporary and historical cultures?
* The Language of modern contemporary warfare, the language of war in society, in the work space and popular culture; obscuration of conditions of being at ‘war’ and the condition of ‘peace’
* Militarization of society, propaganda, war toys, computer gaming; in fashion -‘military chic’
* Representing the realities of war versus ‘national interest' - images of the heroism, glory, tacit and explicit justifications of war; the horror of war and societal responses
2. Representations and Experiences
Viewing War as a multi-layered social phenomena.
* The individual experience of war, the impact of war, in protest; in the alleviation of war and in peace building.
* Recovering from war, trauma, rehabilitation.
* The experience of war; art, literature, music, poetry, cinema and the theatre; the role of the media - journalism, radio, television, the internet; propaganda
* The representations and experiences of protest
* War and Remembrance; the function of memorials; the role of museums; the place of ceremonies in cultural contexts
3. History and Development of Warfare and War Fighting.
How have we fought and why. Lessons learned, mistakes repeated.
* Warfare in human history, revisionism and post-revisionism.
* The sources, origins, and causes of war; why and how do wars begin?
* Means and methods in war - land, sea, air, space, nuclear, chemical, biological; terror and terrorism; conventional and guerrilla warfare; civil war; ‘total' warfare'.
* The nature of warfare; strategy and strategic thought; changes and the implications of changes in the ways wars are fought; the influence and effect of technologies; nuclear deterrence/compellance; changes in the nature and role of military personnel; information and information warfare.
4. Extent, Conduct and Morality
Can war even be distinguished from peace, combatant from non-combatant, who are legitimate targets? The totality of war in modern culture.
* Where are we now? How has war pervaded our society and culture in everyday life?
* The extent of war; geo-political, physical; blockades, sanctions, defence expenditure and the impact on social and public policy; on social and human capital.
* The complexity of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), Financing Conflict, the complexities of ethical investing.
* The regulation and control of warfare; how is and should warfare be conducted? What are the limits of conflict? Are there any prohibitions in fighting a war?
* Globalization; the human, geographic, social and economic boundaries of war in the modern era.
* Resource warfare, food, water, oil and mineral wealth, challenges in the 21st century
5. Human Rights and Human Security
Have the means and methods in war, finally outpaced International law and norms of behaviour? What protection is available? If truth is the first casualty in war, is human rights the second?
* Human security issues; protection, shelter, economic security; public health.
* Human rights; protection, promotion and abuses; genocide, ethnic cleansing; terrorism; scorched earth; war crimes; crimes against humanity.
* Armed non-state actors, roles, practices and regulation.
6. The Boundaries of War
How far will humankind push the limits of acceptable behaviour and practice in war?
* The ‘morality’ and the ‘ethics’ of war; just war; deterrence; pre-emptive war; defence and self-defence; the influence of nationalism; the place of human rights; societies and the military; increases in moral sensibilities - qualms about carpet bombing, collateral damage; the status of combatants in warfare, the impact of civilians; neutrality.
* War and religion; the important role of religion, the church, and the intellectual elite in multi-ethnic conflict specifically and in war in general; just war, jihad and crusade.
* War and gender; women in war; impact, abuses, role in war as combatants and in peace building. Gender equality issues and peace building, cultures of violence in society propagating conflict.
* Children and war, child soldiers, trauma, exposure, conditioning, propaganda, bereavement, expression though play, art and behaviour.
* Slavery and war; past, present and future; unwilling combatants, from janissaries to Mamelukes, to conscripts and child soldiers
* Resistance under occupation, where collaboration ends and resistance begins? Forms of resistance
7. Prevention and Peace
Can we give peace a chance? Viewing war as un-natural, preventable within a variety of frameworks. The legal mechanisms and the trans-national social movements ‘waging peace’.
* Peace building; means and methods; negative peace and building a positive peace; war-termination and nation-building.
* The prevention of war; the role of conflict resolution; avoiding war; peace-keeping; the role and importance of law and international legal order; the rise and impact of non-violent movements.
* Conscientious objection, alternative service.
* The Peace Movement
8. Non-state Actors and NGOs in War
Breaking the state conundrum, participation in relief from the depredations of war, alleviating the suffering, advocacy from theatres of war. Or compromising humanitarian Aid? Force multipliers? Abrogating combatant’s responsibilities toward their populations.
* History: The Quakers to the Red Cross and beyond.
* The Peace Movement, voices and actions
* NGOs, the ‘third space’ actors in the relief of the impact of warfare, aid and development programmes, refugees and IDPs, child soldiers, landmines / cluster munitions; small arms light weapons (SALW/DDR), NGOs prolonging conflict by abrogating state and combatants responsibilities in time of conflict.
* Advocacy campaigns against war, arms trading and weapon systems
* Armed non-state actors. Terrorists? Freedom fighters? Private security forces. Mercenaries in the modern world
9. Future War: Revolutions in Military Affairs – Emerging Types of Warfare.
Be afraid, be very afraid. Are there no limits to man's inhumanity to man?
* Cyber-war Virtual war; cyber-terrorism; cyber-power, cyber-war; computer technologies in the conduct of war.
* Technology leaps – acquiring WMD
* Space war – fantasy or an emerging reality? Issue in the militarisation and weaponisation of space.
* Bio-warfare: gene warfare; the genetic codes of agriculture and livestock as targets in war
The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Papers will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 18th January 2008. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 18th April 2008.
300 word abstracts should be submitted to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order: author(s), affiliation, email address, title of abstract, body of abstract. We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.
Harvard Medical School
Vrij Universiteit Medisch Centrum, Amsterdam
Professor of Strategy,
Strategy and Policy Department,
United States Naval War College, USA
Founder and Network Leader
Priory House, Wroslyn Road, Freeland, Oxfordshire
The conference is part of the ‘Probing the Boundaries’ programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
A number of volumes of themed papers are in preparation and/or in print from the previous meetings of this project. All papers accepted for and presented at this conference will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers accepted for and presented at the conference will be published in a themed hard copy volume.
For further details about the project please visit:
For further details about the conference please visit:
Dr Rob Fisher
Priory House, Wroslyn Road, Freeland, Oxfordshire, UK
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