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Complex Emergencies

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  2 Reviews
If you thought the point of war was to win, this book will make you think again. David Keen questions the model of war as a contest between two sides aiming at political and military victory, and he also rejects the contrasting view that war represents a collapse into anarchy, mindless violence and ethnic hatred. Rather than a contest or a collapse, war is analysed as a sy ...more
Paperback, 293 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Polity Press (first published November 11th 2007)
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Keen's analysis is not only unique, but highly valuable to anyone interested in conflict, development and/or disaster relief. His basic mode of analysis is to interpret disasters caused by conflict (so called "complex emergencies") not through the view of 'what went wrong', but instead to ask the question 'what went right, and for whom?' His is a functionalist analysis which tries to understand why and how certain actors can take advantage of failures of humanitarianism and conflict management, ...more
Feb 14, 2009 Mel rated it really liked it
Keen's functionalist perspective contributes to the understanding of suffering, from where it emerges and why it persists. By considering the confluence of forces from both state and society and the coexistence of individual and universal experiences, Keen makes sense of a chaotic world. Practical, sensible, realistic, and sometimes downright depressing, this book will change the way you view injustice, poverty, violence, crime, corruption, inequality, and disaster.
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