Michael Mann “Have wars and violence declined through human history”
Conférence : Lundi 24 septembre 2018
Maison de l’Université – Université de Rouen – Campus de Mont Saint Aignan
14h – Grand Amphithéâtre
Cette conférence se tiendra dans le cadre de “Rouen Annual Social Science Lecture” – “Conférence annuelle de Rouen en sciences sociales”. Après avoir invité Nikolas Rose (2018) et Marco Verweij (2016) nous sommes heureux de vous d’accueillir :
“Have wars and violence declined through human history”
Résumé : For over one 150 years liberal optimism has dominated theories of war and violence. It has been repeatedly argued that war and violence either are declining or will shortly decline. There have been exceptions, especially in Germany and more generally in the first half of the 20th century, but there has been a recent revival of such optimism, especially in the work of Azar Gat, John Mueller, Joshua Goldstein, and Steven Pinker who all perceive a long-term decline in war and violence through history, speeding up in the post-1945 period. Critiquing Pinker’s statistics on war fatalities, I show that the overall pattern is not a decline in war, but substantial variation between periods and places. War has not declined and current trends are slightly in the opposite direction. The conventional view is that civil wars in the global South have largely replaced inter-state wars in the North, but this is misleading since there is major involvement in most civil wars by outside powers, including those of the North. There is more support for their view that homicide has declined in the long-term, at least in the North of the world (with the U.S. lagging somewhat). This is reinforced by technological improvements in long-distance weaponry and the two transf
ormations have shifted war, especially in the North, from being “ferocious” to “callous” in character. This renders war less visible and less central to Northern culture, which has the deceptive appearance of being rather pacific. Viewed from the South the view has been bleaker both in the colonial period and today. Globally war and violence are not declining, but they are being transformed.
Historiens, anthropologues, politistes, géographes, sociologues, philosophes et économistes sont fascinés par la puissance analytique et la capacité synthétique de ses travaux qui sont traduits dans plus de dix langues et comprennent aussi “Fascists” et “The Dark Side of Democracy: Explaining Ethnic Cleansing”.
S’il est dommage que les travaux de M. Mann – hormis “L’Empire incohérent” – ne sont pas traduits en français, l’opportunité d’échanger avec lui en français et en anglais sera d’autant plus précieuse.