Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
War, State and Society
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Critically reflect on the impact of war and state on each other and on society.
2. Critically reflect on key elements of the debate regarding state, sovereignty, and monopoly over the use of force.
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical sociology of war and the state.
4. Demonstrate an ability to present a coherent, well-informed argument grounded in rigorous scholarship.
5. Demonstrate an ability to problematize settled 'truths' and assumptions about political order, violence, and our knowledge of these.


The module aims to introduce students to the dynamic relationship between war, the state, and society. In so doing it will encourage students to consider: the association between politics, authority and violence; the impact of war on our social and political institutions; the role of individuals and populations in war; the impact of changes in warfare, politics, culture, and economics on each other; and the legacies of war(s) on states and societies.


Indicative lecture schedule
1. Introduction: why study war and the state?
2. War, soldiers, and sovereigns before the state
3. The fiscal-military state formation model I
4. The fiscal-military state formation model II
5. Contrasting perspectives on state formation I
6. Contrasting perspectives on state formation II
7. The military revolution debate I
8. The military revolution debate II
9. War and the 'nation-state' I
10. War and the 'nation-state' II
11. Industrial war and the mass state I
12. Industrial war and the mass state II
13. War, politics, and neoliberalism I
14. War, politics, and neoliberalism II
15. War, soldiers ,and sovereigns beyond the state
16. Conclusion
Indicative seminar schedule
1. Introduction: states, wars, and sovereign violence
2. The fiscal-military state formation model
3. Contrasting perspectives on state formation
4. The military revolution debate
5. War and the 'nation-state'
6. Industrial war and the mass state
7. War, politics, and neoliberalism
8. Conclusion: war, soldiers ,and sovereigns beyond the state

Brief description

This module critically engages with both the notion that 'war makes states and states make war' and the concept of the state's monopoly over the legitimate use of force. Drawing on works from historical sociology, political thought, political sociology, military history, and international history, the module explores the interplay between war in its various forms, political institutions, and populations. It explores topics including: the role of war in state formation; the importance of the so-called 'military revolution' in Europe; the evolution of military administration and logistics; the interplay between war, finance, and the broader economy; the role of nationalism in both war and the state; the technologies of war and rule; the importance of territory and population; war commemoration; the socio-political effects of war; and the figure of the soldier as combatant, citizen, and subject.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. This module will particularly test aural and oral communication skills as it involves assessed seminar performance. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of two essays and preparation for seminar discussions will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for all elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module • Evaluate competing perspectives • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems.
Team work Students will undertake group exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 6