Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Oss0212
  • Sociology
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Distinguish between international war and civil war


    OER Text Material

    Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, Section: 14.5
    Limited content in OER for this learning objective.

    Defining War
    Wars occur both between nations and within nations, when two or more factions engage in armed
    conflict. War between nations is called international war, while war within nations is called civil war. The
    most famous civil war to Americans, of course, is the American Civil War, also called the War Between
    the States, that pitted the North against the South from 1861 through 1865. More than 600,000 soldiers
    on both sides died on the battlefield or from disease, a number that exceeds American deaths in all the
    other wars the United States has fought. More than 100 million soldiers and civilians are estimated to
    have died during the international and civil wars of the 20th century (Leitenberg, 2006). Many novels
    and films depict the heroism with which soldiers fight, while other novels and films show the horror that
    war entails. As Sydney H. Schanberg (2005), a former New York Times reporter who covered the wars in
    Vietnam and Cambodia, has bluntly observed, “‘History,’ Hegel said, ‘is a slaughterhouse.’ And war is
    how the slaughter is carried out.”

    Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

    1. The Sociology of War – Oxford
      The sociology of war is a subfield of sociology that focuses primarily on the macrolevel patterns of war making, including how societies engage in warfare, the meaning that war has in society, and the relationship between state structure and war making. The sociology of war is strongly related to, although in many ways distinct from, the subfield of military sociology that focuses on the organization and functioning of military forces with a particular focus on military personnel and civil military relations. What binds these lines of scholarship together is the basic premise that to understand war, it is necessary to understand those who fight it, and vice versa.
    2. Definitions – FBI
      International terrorism​: Perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations (state-sponsored).
      Domestic terrorism​: Perpetrated by individuals and/or groups inspired by or associated with primarily U.S.-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.
    3. Societal Impacts of the American Revolution – U.S. History Journal
      The study of terrorism has been an active field of research in economics, political science, sociology, and related disciplines since the late 1960s. At first, political science took a conceptual and historical approach to the study of terrorism, which was pragmatic in the absence of data and theoretical constructs for terrorist behavior. The early conceptual approach focused on the definition of terrorism, the myriad causes of terrorism, the tactics of the terrorists, and the identity of the primary terrorist groups and movements (e.g. Crenshaw, 1981; Wilkinson, 1986).
    4. Sociology Approaches to Civil War
      This content critically reviews the sociological approaches that have made a significant contribution to our understanding of the relationships between civil war and society. More specifically, we attempt to show that the political and historical sociologists have made a lasting impact in four distinct areas: (1) the interconnectedness of state formation, revolutionary upheavals and civil wars; (2) the significance of territoriality for the dynamics of inter-state warfare; (3) the sociological relevance of the new wars debate; and (4) the micro-sociological relationships between civil wars, insurgencies and terrorism. What is distinctive about sociological approaches is their attempt to situate and understand intra-state warfare in the broader social and historical contexts. The aim is to demonstrate how both the violent conflict and solidarity generated in civil wars are the product of intensive social action and historical contingencies. Sociologists aim to show that to explain the origins, causes and direction of armed intra-state conflicts one needs also to understand the internal complexities, social divisions and group dynamics of specific societies.
    5. Large-Scale Historical Change and Global Order – Historical Sociology and International Relations – Oxford Research