Bringing the 'new wars' debate back on track : building on critiques, identifying opportunities, and moving forward
Title: Bringing the 'new wars' debate back on track : building on critiques, identifying opportunities, and moving forward
Citation: Global policy, 2014, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 415-424
Kaldor's ‘new wars’ argument has stimulated a forceful debate over the last decade. Albeit providing important insights, this debate has messily conflated arguments, concepts and theories. As a result, when it comes to enhancing our understanding of contemporary armed conflicts, it is bringing diminishing results. In this article we suggest avenues for further research and point to current research programs that may help put the debate ‘back on track’ and push the discussion forward by examining systematically some of the aspects Kaldor described as defining features of ‘new wars’. Concretely, we stress the importance of undertaking a longer historical perspective for drawing inferences; call for bringing warfare in the study of civilian victimization; highlight the conceptual differences between ‘new wars’ and civil wars and emphasize the importance of taking their transnational dimension seriously; make a plea for disaggregation for capturing relevant temporal and spatial variation; and draw attention to new data sets and the opportunities they offer to statistically test the ‘new wars’ argument. In a concluding section, we broadly outline the significance of this discussion for policy making.
Article first published online: 15 APR 2014.
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