Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
An Anthropology of War: Views from the Frontline

View Table of Contents

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

An Anthropology of War

Views from the Frontline

Edited by Alisse Waterston

204 pages, 10 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-622-1 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (October 2008)

eISBN 978-0-85745-522-2 eBook

Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“The methodologies vary, the approaches are both positivist and interpretive, with empirics drawing from public opinion polls, interviews, archives, and visual and textual analysis. The resulting collection offers a rich and insightful picture of Georgian women’s experiences over the last century…, a delightful example of scholarly explorations of identity and gender in a tumultuous political environment.” • Gender & Society

“This is the best book on the anthropology of war I have ever read… [The papers] are both pithy and theoretically informed. That, combined with the collection’s obvious contemporary political relevance and the exemplariness of the chapters as examples of the contemporary anthropology of war, makes it ideal for both university courses and even the public at large. If you want to read a book on the anthropology of war, or use one in your teaching, this is the one you should.” • Ethos

“…a little book with big ambitions... Each chapter shows in poignant and powerful ways how anthropologists can marshal evidence against war and related conflict.” • American Ethnologist

“It is sobering, but also provocative to look at war from the viewpoint of anthropologists, especially those who have had the unique experience of being in zones of war. These essays bring special insights, but also a passion missing in the usual journalistic accounts or scholarly reflections. The writers in this volume not only enlarge our perspective but move us emotionally - a rare and admirable combination.” • Howard Zinn


As we move deeper into the twenty-first century, power, lethal force, and injustice continue to explode violently into war, and the prospects for lasting peace look even bleaker. The horrors of modern warfare - the death, dehumanization, and destruction of social and material infrastructures - have done little to bring an end to armed conflict.

In this volume, leading chroniclers of war provide thoughtful and powerful essays that reflect on their ethnographic work at the frontlines. The contributors recount not only what they have seen and heard in war zones but also what is being read, studied, analyzed and remembered in such diverse locations as Colombia and Guatemala, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Haiti. In detailed reports from the field, they reflect on the important issue of “accountability” and offer explanations to discern causes, patterns, and practices of war. Through this unique lens, the contributors provide the insight and analysis needed for a deeper understanding of one of the greatest issues of our times.

Avram Bornstein, Paul E. Farmer, R. Brian Ferguson, Lesley Gill, Beatriz Manz, Carolyn Nordstrom, Stephen Reyna, Jose N. Vasquez

Alisse Waterston is Professor of Anthropology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. Her work focuses on the human consequences of structural and systemic violence and inequality. Her publications include Love, Sorrow and Rage: Destitute Women in a Manhattan Residence, and Anthropology off the Shelf: Anthropologists on Writing, co-edited with Maria D. Vesperi.

Subject: Peace & Conflict Studies Theory & Methodology in Anthropology
Area: Latin America Middle East & Israel


Prelude: An Accountability, Written in the Year 2108
Carolyn Nordstrom

Introduction: On War and Accountability
Alisse Waterston

Chapter 1. Ten Points on War
R. Brian Ferguson

Chapter 2. Global Warring Today: “Maybe Somebody Needs to Explain”
Stephen Reyna

Chapter 3. Global Fractures
Carolyn Nordstrom

Chapter 4. Seeing Green: Visual Technology, Virtual Reality, and the Experience of War
Jose N. Vasquez

Chapter 5. Military Occupation as Carceral Society: Prisons, Checkpoints, and Walls in the Israeli-Palestinian Struggle
Avram Bornstein

Chapter 6. War and Peace in Colombia
Lesley Gill

Chapter 7. The Continuum of Violence in Post-war Guatemala
Beatriz Manz

Chapter 8. Mother Courage and the Future of War
Paul E. Farmer

Notes on contributors

Back to Top