Book Review, Andreas Wimmer. Waves of War: Nationalism, State Formation, and Ethnic Exclusion in the Modern World. Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
4 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2014
Date Written: September 19, 2014
Andreas Wimmer has written an immensely impressive book. Waves of War is impressive not only in its ambition, but also in its breadth. The book, based on a series of articles written over a period of ten years, aims to address a broad interdisciplinary literature and audience in comparative historical sociology, comparative politics, and international relations about nationalism and war. It is intended to remedy the defect in current scholarship on war and peace which overlooked the political power of nationalism in shaping the contemporary world and in shaping our thinking about the causes of war and peace. What underpins the book’s analytic framework is the issue of “how power, legitimacy, and conflict relate to each other and how they are intertwined with the politicization of social categories such as nations, ethnic groups, and the like. It brings three traditions in political sociology and comparative political science together: relational structuralism, an institutionalism focused on questions of legitimacy, and a power-configurational approach.” He posits war springs from three different sources. First, war is more likely to break out if sections of a population are politically excluded. Second, conflict is more likely to escalate “if such political exclusion violates the principles of political legitimacy.” Third, war is more likely to break out if the rivals aim at removing the form of the regime due to the high stakes involved.
Keywords: Andreas Wimmer, Waves of War, War
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