Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
War is a form of social conflict between two or more collective political actors, involving the organized use of physical violence, with the central aim of coercing one political actor to comply with the will of another. In broader terms, war is a complex and highly contingent set of events and processes requiring the mobilization of power, human beings, resources, and technologies of production and communication, which dramatically interrupts routine social life and generates a new social dynamic. When political disputes over territory, resources, sovereignty, or ideology cannot be settled by negotiations, threat, hegemony, or compromise, they often lead to violent attempts to establish political will—that is, in warfare. At the most general level, war is a socially recognized violent intergroup conflict that profoundly transforms social life. Anthropological research corroborates that, with the possible exceptions of a few tribal groupings such as the Semai of Malaysia, Andaman Islanders of India, ...