Whereas states formerly had a right to wage war under a wide range of cicumstances, now war is legally permitted only in self defence. Yet wars persist. If their incidence is to be reduced, we must understand the forces that maintain war as an institution. The contributors to this book consider the nature of war and the forces that sustain it from diverse perspectives ranging from anthropology, history, political science, theology, philosophy, international law, economics, psychiatry and biology. The complexity of modern war requires understanding not only of several layers of social complexity - individuals, groups, societies - but also of the dialectical relations between those levels. This implies that individuals can contriburte towards a reduction in wars incidence.
Acknowledgements - Contributors - Aggression and the Institution of War; R.A.Hinde - Editorial: The Nature of War - War: Natural but not necessary; J.Mueller - Some Psychological Bases of the Institution of War; H.Middleton - History and War; H.Pogge von Strandmann - An Anthropological View of War and Violence; E.Gellner - Editorial: The Institution of War - Sacrifice; S.Sykes - Nurturing the Institution of War: 'Just War' Theory's 'Justifications' and Accommodations; R.E.Santoni - Legal Bases of the Institution of War; J.G.Collier - In Defence of the Laws of War; C.Greenwood - A Note on Patriotism/Nationalism; R.A.Hinde - Imaginings of War: Some Cultural Supports of the Institution of War; J.M.Winter - Do Modern Economies require War or Preparations for Warfare?; M.Kaldor - Defence Decision Making and Accountability; S.Elworthy - The Institution of Conscription: the Case of Finland; B.Phillips - Editorial: Conclusion - Index