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The Risk Society at War

The Risk Society at War
Terror, Technology and Strategy in the Twenty-First Century


  • Date Published: December 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521867917

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About the Authors
  • In the globalised world of the twenty-first century, security policy in Western societies is driven by a wish to prevent future threats from becoming reality. Applying theories of 'risk society' to the study of strategy, this book analyses the creation of a new approach to strategy. The author demonstrates that this approach creates new choices for policy-makers and challenges well-established truths within the study of security and strategy. He argues that since the seventeenth century the concept of strategy has served to rationalise new technologies, doctrines and agents. By outlining the history of the concept of strategy in terms of rationality, Rasmussen presents a framework for studying strategy in a time of risk and uses this framework to analyse how new technologies of war, pre-emptive doctrines, globalisation and the rise of the 'terrorist approach to warfare' can formulate a new theory of strategy.

    • Argues that security policy in Western societies is driven by a wish to prevent future threats from becoming reality, and offers a framework for studying strategy in terms of risk
    • Contains a novel introduction to the concept of strategy
    • Analyses a number of topical questions, such as the Iraq war, technology, and international law on the use of force and terrorism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In illuminating detail, Rasmussen outlines how strategic thinking in the early twenty-first century has been reshaped by the concept of risk. This is a path-breaking book - original, insightful and uniquely important. I hope that politicians and generals alike will read it - they should.' Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations, LSE

    'At last a book that connects military strategy into the debate on 'risk society'. Rasmussen should be read by everyone concerned with today's strategic dilemmas, as well as by social scientists interested in risk.' Martin Shaw, Professor of International Relations and Politics, University of Sussex

    'The overall quality of The Risk Society at War is testimony to the careful research and analysis that underpins the book. Weaving together various theoretical developments on risk research from otherwise disparate disciplines of sociology, criminology and international relations, and demonstrating their explanatory power in contemporary questions of war and question is itself a creditable achievement. … a valuable contribution to the existing IR literature on strategy and security.' Yee-Kuang Heng, Lecturer in International Relations, University of St Andrews

    '... offers a number of intriguing insights about the direction of strategy in the context of risk.' Journal of Politics

    ' … useful to any reader interested in the changing aspects of warfare and should be requi]red reading for strategists of the twenty-first century.' International Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2006
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521867917
    • length: 234 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 150 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Strategy, strategic studies and risk
    2. Technology: the revolution in military affairs
    3. Doctrines: precautionary principles and anticipatory defence
    4. Agents: the UN-approach and the terrorist-approach to warfare
    5. Conclusions.

  • Author

    Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, University of Copenhagen
    Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen is director of the Centre for Military Studies at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. He was a member of the Danish Defence Commission of 2008, was a co-writer of the Danish white paper on defence in 2004, and in 2007 to 2008 was part of a Defence Department commission on emergency services. He has also testified to the foreign affairs and defence committees at the Danish Parliament, and in 2007 the Norwegian Foreign Ministry asked him to write a position paper on the future of foreign policy. In 2009, he gave a presentation to the NATO-military committee and briefed the NATO Secretary General. Professor Rasmussen has taught classes at the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Danish Defence College, and has recently lectured at the Baltic Defence College, the Norwegian Air War College, St Andrews University, the Finish National Defence University, the London School of Economics and the NATO Defence College. He publishes regularly in Danish newspapers and is often used as a commentator in the Danish media. From 2006 to 2009 he was the Head of the Danish Institute for Military Studies while on leave from his position at the University of Copenhagen. Previously, he worked at the Danish Institute for International Affairs as a Project Director for a large MoD funded project on defence and security issues. He is also an Adjunct Professor of the Baltic Defence College. Professor Rasmussen received his PhD from the University of Copenhagen and holds an MSc in Political Science from that university as well as an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

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