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War, Memory and Society (SO124)

Does war have social origins? How have sociologists theorised war? War not only influences societies and determines the fates and fortunes of states. It impacts on the ways in which societies imagine and constitute themselves as well as macro-level narratives of national progress or decline and fall. This module considers the social and cultural consequences of war and how war, society and memory interact with, and impact upon, each other. It also explores how war has helped influence the development of sociology as a discipline, shaping its empirical and theoretical sensibilities at important junctures in its history.

Each week will draw on scholarly literature from sociology and associated cognate disciplines (e.g. social anthropology, history, cultural studies) as well as texts in popular culture and the media to explore a different question or issue concerning how war, society and memory act upon, and react to, each other. These questions will link past debates in sociology and the social sciences with current questions concerning the social and cultural implications of war for contemporary states and societies.

Although the module will draw eclectically on case studies from around the world, it will return to consider the importance of war in the making of collective identities and memory in Britain, Australia and other Commonwealth countries. The module will also involve a consideration of the impact and memory of the 20th century's two world wars, about which students will be encouraged to reflect critically.


Module Director:

Alexander Smith


This module is worth 15 CATS.