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of the total war, which Shaw (Dialectics of

War, 1988) saw as a new mode of warfare, fusing

popular mobilization and industrialized war

to reach new levels of destruction. This in turn

had transformative power in social and political

relations – a recurring theme in the sociology of

war from Stanislav Andreski’s formulation of the

war war


“military participation ratio,” according to which

social change was proportional to participation

levels (Military Organization and Society, 1968). However,

as total war mutated into preparations for

nuclear war, writers like Giddens argued that

transformative agencies could no longer be identified

within warfare, which was tending towards

total social destruction.

Total warfare was also associated with the classic

manifestations of militarism in social life. This

is often identified in terms of ideologies and cultures

that glorify military activities and organizations,

but it has a broader meaning as the

extensive influence of military organization and

culture on social relations in general. Thus, although

militarism is often used in a derogatory

sense, it is possible to distinguish, for example,

between fascist and democratic versions in which

military power is evaluated quite differently.

In this sense, militarism becomes a more useful

analytical concept, allowing us to distinguish processes

of militarization, in which military influences

increase, and demilitarization, in which

they contract (Shaw, Post-Military Society, 1991).

Total war and its associated militarism also

blurred the line between combatants and civilians.

Because the latter often participated in warfare – as

suppliers of weapons and other material, as well as

of ideological support for war – they were increasingly

regarded as targets of weapons of mass destruction.

However, the increasing vulnerability of

many who were manifestly neither direct combatants

nor even indirect contributors to war – most

women, the old, and the young – meant that the

civilian category became increasingly important in

the analysis of war. Modern war could be seen not

only as transforming all forms of social stratification

– sharpening contradictions of class, gender,

and race and ethnicity, for example – but also as

producing a form of stratification specific to military

power, the civilian–combatant division, which

in turn was institutionalized in military organization

and culture.

While the main period of total war saw

the growth of militarism, the nuclear age saw –

alongside ever more total destructiveness in

military technology – decreasing militarism as

war-preparation no longer required such high

levels of mobilization and participation. The

resulting changes preoccupied various kinds of

sociological analysis in the last decades of the

twentieth century. The subfield of military sociology

analyzed the transformations of military institutions

consequent on the “decline of mass armies”

(Jacques van Doorn, The Soldier and Social Change,

1975), emphasizing, for example, the development

of “professionalism” and even “occupationalism”

(Charles Moscos and James Wood, The Military:

More Than Just a Job? 1988). Cynthia Enloe opened

up the feminist exploration of gendering in the

military, asking women Does Khaki Become You?

(1985). With the first war fought after Vietnam

by a western state, namely Britain’s Falklands

campaign, Mann (1988) analyzed the development

of “spectator-sport militarism.” The 1991 Gulf War

brought many studies of the role of mass media in

the new western wars, such as Philip Taylor’s War

and Media (1992).

In the twenty-first century, the issues in the

study of war were changing again. The end of the

Cold War meant that, although the danger of nuclear

war remained in a world of increasing nuclear

proliferation, there was less focus on this

maximal (and since 1945 hypothetical) level of

war. Instead, studies focused on two parallel and

intertwined trends. One set of analyses examined

wars, often centered on ethnic conflict, resulting

from state fragmentation in non-western countries,

which in turn led to a new “convergence” of

studies of war and of development (Mark Duffield,

Global Governance and the New Wars, 2001). Mary

Kaldor in New and Old Wars (1999) influentially

claimed that these were “new wars.” Other analyses

focused on the new patterns of western warfare,

described as “bourgeois wars” by Herfried Mu¨nkler

in New Wars (2004). After the September 11 2001,

terrorist attacks on the United States, terrorism

(organized violence designed to create fear in civilian

populations) and counter-terrorism were widely

seen as taking newly global forms. The newconflicts

were seen as prime examples of “asymmetric war”

between opposed types of armed adversaries –

states and networks – and also as forms of globalization

in contemporary warfare. Hence Shaw in

The New Western Way of War (2005) analyzed both

new western and terrorist ways of war as manifestations

of a “global surveillance” mode of warfare.

The contribution of sociology as a discipline to the

increasingly interdisciplinary study of warfare also

included important reflections like Hans Joas’s War

and Modernity (2003) and Paul Hirst’s War in the

Twenty-First Century (2004). The foundations of a sociology

of war were increasingly being laid, although

they had yet to inform an extensive field of study

within the discipline. MARTIN SHAW


This describes a stock of marketable assets, usually

money and property. In contrast, income describes

a flow of resources. Wealth and income are linked,

war wealth


as wealth can be invested to generate income, and

income can be saved to accumulate wealth. The

distribution of wealth is highly unequal – much

more so than the distribution of income. For

example, in the United States, in 2001, 20 percent

of all income went to the top-earning 1 percent of

households, but these households represented 33.4

percent of net worth (or wealth). The bottom fifth

of households had negative net worth – owing

more than they owned. One reason for the unequal

distribution of wealth is that patterns of wealth

will vary over the life cycle, as people will save for

old age, and average wealth is highest amongst

older age groups. The major contributory factor

to wealth inequality, however, is inheritance.

At any given point in time, there is a limited

amount of wealth that exists. However, the totality

of wealth is not fixed. Adam Smith (1723–90)

(The Wealth of Nations, 1776) saw wealth creation as

the combining of materials, labor, land, and technology

so as to create a profit. The capitalist mode

of production has demonstrated a considerable

capacity for wealth creation. In the relatively short

term, wealth can also increase (and decrease) because

of market fluctuations, such as increases in

house prices and booms in the stock market.

It has been argued that the creation of wealth,

even if its distribution remains highly unequal, is

nevertheless of benefit to society as a whole. The

rich will reinvest, thus creating jobs, income, and

more wealth. This has been described as the

trickle-down effect. Others have taken a more radical

view. Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919) described

the millionaire as “but a trustee for the poor;

intrusted for a season with a great part of the

increased wealth of the community, but administering

it for the community far better than it

could or would have done for itself,” in his article

on “the Gospel of Wealth” in the North American

Review in 1889. Thus the duty of the rich, during

their lifetimes, was to benefit the community by

“placing within its reach ladders upon which the

aspiring can rise.” Carnegie argued that inheritance

was “most injudicious” and absolutely the

worst strategy for the disposal of wealth, “Beyond

providing for the wife and daughters moderate

sources of income, and very moderate allowances

indeed, if any, for the sons.”

This view sees the creation of wealth by individuals

during their lifetime as a legitimate reward

for their greater abilities, but is critical of wealth

acquired by inheritance, or otherwise by lack of

effort, such as reductions of tax for the already

wealthy. For example, Warren Buffett (1930– ), a

stock market investor who is one of the richest

men in the United States, has been highly critical

of proposals to cut tax on dividends, arguing that

tax reductions should instead be directed at the

lower-paid. Furthermore, Buffett does not intend

to leave his wealth to his children. Nevertheless,

despite these individual exceptions, the most

common manner in which wealth is acquired is

through inheritance, and the most certain way to

become wealthy is to be born of wealthy parents.

The actual size of wealth holdings, as well as the

distribution of wealth, will be much influenced by

the assets that are included in wealth calculations.

Wealth can include financial savings, property,

and accumulated pension rights. In the

United Kingdom, for the population as a whole,

housing and pension rights are the most important

sources of wealth. However, state pension

rights (over half of the total of pension rights) do

not represent marketable wealth, and some

groups (lone parents, young single people, and

couples with young children) have very little private

pension wealth. The marketability of individual

home ownership is restricted (assuming that

the owner needs somewhere to live). Thus, a considerable

proportion of the assets of the more

moderate wealth holders is not, in fact, marketable

and it may be questioned whether this constitutes

“wealth.” Thus a more usual measure is

“marketable wealth,” which does not include accrued

pension rights (but does include housing).

One of the aims of neoliberal governments

elected in the 1970s (particularly in Britain and

the United States) was the creation of popular

capitalism – that is, the more widespread distribution

of wealth. In the United Kingdom, the sale of

social housing, together with the privatization

and selling off of industries such as telecommunications,

gas, electricity, and water, was justified in

these terms (the sale of national assets also raised

considerable revenues for the government). However,

aggregate data suggest that the development

of popular capitalism does not appear to have

been particularly successful.

In Britain (as in many other countries), inequalities

of wealth declined between the 1920s and

the 1970s, largely because of the impact of inheritance

tax and taxes on dividends. In 1923, the top

1 percent owned 61 percent of marketable wealth

in England and Wales, but by 1976 the top 1

percent owned 21 percent of marketable wealth

in the United Kingdom. Until the 1980s, wealth

distribution continued to become more equal, in

some contrast with the rapid growth of income

inequality that was taking place during this

period. However, from the second half of the

wealth wealth


1990s, there was a significant increase in the inequality

of wealth, and by 2001 the top 1 percent

owned 23 percent of marketable wealth.

It is not surprising that increases in inequalities

of wealth should lag behind increases in income

inequality, given that, as wealth is congealed

income, it will take time for increased income

inequality to show up in the wealth distribution.

In addition, taxes on investment income have also

fallen below those on earnings between the 1970s

and the 1990s, and rates of tax on large inheritances

have also fallen since the mid-1980s. Thus

popular capitalism may be judged to have failed,

given that wealth inequalities have increased –

which is perhaps not surprising as the fiscal policies

of neoliberal governments are also designed

to enable the better-off to retain more of their


Weber, Max (1864–1920)

Max Weber is widely regarded as the greatest

figure in the history of the social sciences, and

as one of the founders of sociology as a discipline.

His most influential works include The Protestant

Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905 [trans. 2002])

and Economy and Society (1922 [trans. 1968]). His

writings on the economic ethic of the world religions

(1915–16), which deal with ancient Judaism

(Ancient Judaism, (1921 [trans. 1952]), Buddhism

and Hinduism (The Religion of India, 1920–1 [trans.

1958], and The Religion of China, 1921 [trans. 1951]),

have had powerful influence on scholarship in

each of these areas, as well as setting the agenda

for the study of cultural influences on economic

development. His writings on the modern

bureaucratic state, the nature of political authority

and leadership, charisma, and modernity as

rationalization and “disenchantment” have also

been influential. Moreover, Weber has had an influence

in such diverse fields as international

relations and political theory, in the history of

law, and in philosophy and the philosophy of the

social sciences with his methodological writings,

particularly in relation to the fact–value distinction

and the idea of interpretive or verstehende


Weber was born Karl Emil Maximilian Weber

into a family of wealthy industrialists and linen

merchants with international connections, who

had a linen factory in Oerlinghausen, Westphalia,

in what is now northwest Germany. On his

mother’s side there were professors as well as industrialists,

of Huguenot origin. He grew up in an

atmosphere not only of wealth, but of political

power, intellectual distinction, and religiously

motivated service. Weber’s parents were, however,

on the margins of wealth and power rather than at

the center. Weber’s father was a younger son in his

family and pursued a legal and political career,

which Weber himself seemed poised to follow. His

most famous book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit

of Capitalism (1905), contains thinly concealed elements

of the business history of his family, as do

passages of Economy and Society (1922). His mother,

Helene Fallenstein, was highly educated and influenced

by the socially conscious Protestant theology

of the time.

Weber studied law, but also attended lectures

in economics, ancient history, philosophy, and

theology. He enjoyed student life, joining a fraternity,

drinking beer, and playing cards. He fulfilled

his obligatory military service by training

in the officer corps of the army. He settled down

to his legal studies after returning to Berlin

in 1884, concentrated on the law and legal

history, briefly clerked at a District Court, took

law exams, and completed more military service.

He became a doctoral student under Levin Goldschmidt

(1829–97), and wrote a dissertation, “Development

of the Principle of Joint Liability and

the Separate Fund in the Public Trading Company

from the Household and Trade Communities

in the Italian Cities” (1889), based on

hundreds of Italian and Spanish sources. The

text traced, in the form of highly elaborated

series of legal citations, a long sequence of incremental

developments in the European law of

commercial contracts through a variety of legal

jurisdictions. Like many histories of law it

recorded the small, step-by-step adjustments

and extensions of the law to new circumstances

and new kinds of cases over hundreds of years, in

the course of which significant changes were produced

in the meaning of the law itself. The puzzle

that Weber wanted to solve by this incrementalist

approach is the problem of the emergence of

the modern law of corporations (which limits

personal liability and allows fictitious persons

or corporations to be liable) from the world of

ancient law in which there were no corporations,

and in which the only means for the accumulation

of capital in support of a large-scale project,

such as the shipping of goods for sale in distant

markets, required such things as personal guarantees

and hostages.

To become a professor, he needed to complete a

second dissertation (Die romische Agrargeschichte in

ihrer Bedeutung fu¨r das Staars- und Privatrecht, 1891),

which used a similar incrementalist approach and

an unusual set of legal documents to address a

Weber, Max (1864–1920) Weber, Max (1864–1920)


long-term transformation, in this case the decline

of the Roman empire and its slave-based

economy and the rise of serfdom. The dissertation

used his knowledge of medieval land tenure

law to illuminate the Roman agrarian situation.

It was characteristically bold and controversial,

and, though Weber later dismissed it, the argument

is nevertheless interesting. Weber assumed

that the Roman colonial land surveyors mapped

different types of land tenure differently, so that

untaxed lease rights from public land were only

roughly measured, while private (taxed) lots were

more precisely measured. This was not an assumption

that he could substantiate in the legal

sources, though it made sense. He then argued

that the private lots were too small for subsistence.

This meant that the poorer landowners

needed to plant on public land to survive, placing

them in competition for this land with the rich,

who could use slaves, and that they eventually

were degraded to the status of slaves. But at the

same time, as a result of the shortage of slave

labor, slaves rose in status and were given serflike

privileges, producing a convergence between

the two groups that led to the two-tiered order

based on unfree, but privileged, labor that characterized

the European agricultural system for

the next millennium.

Serfdom was only abolished in Russia in the

1860s and had been, in one form or another, central

to European agriculture at the beginning of

the nineteenth century. Its decline and transformation

had profound consequences that were being

worked out in Weber’s time, and the historical

debates over it had a strongly political character.

He also became involved in the policy issues that

arose in the course of the transformation of agriculture.

Although Weber later became famous for

his distinction between science and politics, the

relation between his own activities as a scholar

and as a person involved in politics were nevertheless

close. The character and ultimate historical

meaning of modern capitalism was a great theme

of nineteenth-century thought, and such questions

as the legal origins of private property were hotly

debated. It is characteristic ofWeber’s thought that

these issues appear, but in a form that is different

from the usual one, often because he has converted

them into an incrementalist issue in the development

of the relevant institutions.

The Verein fu¨r Sozialpolitik (Association for Social

Policy) was a body that tried to produce an expert

consensus to guide and influence state policy.

Weber joined this association, and was employed

to produce a study of “The Conditions of the Agricultural

Workers in East Elbian Regions of Germany,”

a topic of considerable political interest

to him, as it involved the economic interests of

the Prussian estates, which were reeling from the

globalization of the wheat market, a source of

worldwide economic instability as well as class

conflict between the producers, who wanted protective

tariffs, the workers, who opposed them,

and the agricultural laborers, who were leaving

and being replaced by less costly Polish labor. The

success of the study enabled him to change

careers. He was given a professorial appointment

in economics at Freiburg in 1893, and was later

appointed in economics at Heidelberg, the university

with which he was to be most closely associated.

Weber did not teach at Heidelberg for long.

After the death of his father, with whom he had

quarreled about his mother, he fell into a state of

mental anguish, and quit teaching. After some

recuperative traveling he returned to Heidelberg,

and to an active role as an editor and author, and

to the writing of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of


The core problem of the essay is accounting for

the disruption and replacement of traditional economic

life. He argued that it was in part – that

part being the distinctive human type of highly

self-disciplined, ascetic, rational capitalist – the

indirect effect of Protestantism. The connection

was complex. Reformation theology, and particularly

Calvinism, altered the problem of salvation.

The doctrine was a development of issues deeply

rooted in the Christian tradition. The omniscience

and omnipotence of God implies that God knows

who will be saved. These persons, the Elect, believed

to be a small number, are thus predestined

for salvation. Weber reasoned that the doctrine of

predestination was psychologically intolerable

and produced deep anxiety, which had to be

allayed by pastoral assurances based on some ancillary

doctrines, such as the idea of callings

(“Science as a Vocation,” 1917 [trans. 1946] and

“Politics as a Vocation,” 1919 [trans. 1994]). This

anxiety, however, had to be deeply concealed, as

feelings of doubt were held to be a sign that one

was not among the elect. Pastors, however, needed

something for their flock to relieve them of the

terror produced by the doctrine of predestination.

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