• Pandours, Partisans, and Petite Guerre: The Two Dimensions of Enlightenment Discourse on War

    Author(s):
    Bruce Buchan (see profile)
    Date:
    2012
    Group(s):
    Global & Transnational Studies, History
    Subject(s):
    Imperialism, History, Enlightenment, Civilization, Europe, Intellectual life, Military history
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    guerra de guerillas, War, Colonial history, European civilization, Intellectual history
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/kyqp-9g27
    Abstract:
    During the Enlightenment period a certain notion of war came to prominence in European thought. This notion, which I here refer to as ‘civilized war’, centred on the idea that European war-making in the eighteenth century was characterised by humanity and honour. This image of European war-making was sustained by a variety of intellectuals and even some military practitioners who reflected not only on the practice of war in Europe in this period, but on the practice of war among supposedly less ‘civilised’ peoples in other parts of the world and in Europe's barbaric past. In these other places, among other peoples, and at other times, warfare was characterised as altogether less ‘civilised’, less ordered, less humane and honourable, and was thus considered more ‘savage’. I will argue in this paper, however, that there were at least two dimensions to the Enlightenment discourse on civilised war: the first dimension stressed the moral qualities of civilised war, its honour and humanity above all; the second dimension emphasised its technical or rational qualities that gave European war-makers a decisive military advantage over non-European war-makers. These two dimensions applied to conventional or symmetrical war between sovereign militaries contending by massed fire power on the field of battle. They were less easily applicable to petite guerre, that is, unconventional, asymmetric or partisan war. Here, the two dimensions of the idea of civilised war were shadowed by persistent anxieties about the status of both dimensions of civilised war.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:

    Downloads

    Item Name: pdf pandours_partisans_and_petite_guerre_two-2.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 240