Classical Theory


For the purpose of this course, we will be discussing war as a form of organized violence and the terms can be used interchangeably.

Become familiar with sociology’s history with war.
Understand the ideas of Durkheim, Marx, and Weber in relation to organized violence.

Durkheim looked a lot at solidarity and how it evolved as societies developed and become more organized

Marx focused on economic exchanges. He saw capitalism as exploitative and alienating. This can be applied to both micro and macro levels.

Weber was very interested in the development of organization. He saw discipline as tremendously important in the development of societies’ economic and technological realms, which deals directly with military and violence.

Familiarize yourself with contributions of other scholars on war and organized violence. To include:

German belligerent Statism
German Sociological Libritarianism Austro-American Group Struggle Paradigm Anglo-American Evolution Theory Franco-German Metaphysics of Violence Italian Elite Theory

If you needed to summarize the human history of war it would go something like this: No War; then Some War; and finally Lots of War. Meaning, that early human history consisted of practically no wars, but as society changed we saw more war, to where we are today where we see, likely, more war than any other time in human history.

This has a lot to do with the historic development of social organization. Scholars see social organization as one leading uses of warfare. I cannot emphasize this too much, if you remember only a few key pieces of information after this course, let this be one: the use of warfare or organized violence has a strong and direct correlation to social organization. When

page1image3489673008 page1image3472420784

we talk about social organization think about the size of a group. This isn’t to say it is the single defining factor for organization, but when we think of the divisions of labor and organization is required to sustain and engage a few hundred people of tribal societies compared to the hundreds of thousands or millions of modern cities. To ensure that essential needs are met for groups this large means that the collective must be highly organized in a way that means food production, waste disposal, and other needs are met at this scale. Overall social organization is a great measure for how successful a society will be for problem solving and goal attainment. This organization becomes critical for warfare to be effective enough for a society to regularly consider it a useful option for solving those problems or achieving goals.

This week’s discussion will deal directly with these ideas of social organization.


Read Malesevic Ch1 and Hedges (Know) Ch1 Complete Reading Quiz

Read the discussion questions below and make an individual post no later than the end of Wednesday

Collaborate with your group mates to produce a group response to the discussion questions and have that posted in your discussion section by the end of Friday.


Reading Quiz (10 Points)
Group Discussion and Post (15 points) Group Discussion Participation (15 points)

Discussion Questions

Create an individual posts by Wednesday by following the discussions below, then through replies to other’s posts develop a group response that reflects the contributions of your group members and make a group response post by the end of Friday. Your group response should answer the questions more comprehensively than your individual posts as you have had greater opportunities to develop a more complete answer with your group. If the question asks for a specific example do not use an example that one of your peers has already used.


In the introduction, Malesevic (2010) writes, “there is no effective use or threat to use violence without developed social organization.” For your individual response, do you agree with this? Why or why not? Use the ideas of the thinkers in this chapter to support your position.

As a group discuss (through your replies) the relationship between social organization and organized violence. For your group response, how would you characterize this relationship? Your response should address the issues of likelihood for organized violence, the capability to efficiently use violence, and other factors that may influence these. Post your group response in your discussion section.