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Title: The order of war
Author: Refberg, Kristoffer Bang
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 9535
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The present dissertation is an inquiry into how the relationship between war and the subject has been problematised through an ontology of operativity and command. It demonstrates how from the earliest political treatises of the Western tradition, notably in Plato and Aristotle, the notion that war [polemos] must be subjected to 'steering' has been present. Once conceived by the Pre- Socratics as inseperable from life [bios], permeating being as well as the cosmos, the dissertation shows how war [polemos] in classical Greece came to be discovered as a relationship of forces that must be mastered by the individual and governed at the level of the polis. The dissertation shows how, in fact, the polis was founded on the idea of steering war as a means of rendering being governable forming the terrain for the entry into life [bios] of the ontology of operativity and command. The dissertation demonstrates how the ontology of operativity and command finds its early expression in the Greek stratia [army] as an articulation of the ruling principle [arkhē] that ties together a tactics of individuating bodies via discipline and a strategy that integrates the tactical individuation of bodies to form an assemblage of forces that can be steered by command. The dissertation shows how, in the stratia, the ruling principle articulated a homological relationship between the government of self and others enabling the army to be shaped from the otherwise disordered multitude. A primordial strategic incitement for rendering being governable, in the army the individual stratiōtēs [a citizen bound to military service], in his government of self, simultaneously came to bind himself to the command of the stratēgos [general]. Tracing an itinerary from archaic Greece to the end of the period of the later Roman Empire, the dissertation analyses the formation of the field of knowledge in which the ontology of operativity and command is displaced from the classical sense of being to be tied to the existence of God. The dissertation explains how this displacement takes place with the translation of the Greek 3 notion of polemos [war] into the Latin bellum, the ruling principle [arkhē] into the word of God [logos], which, ultimately, will be identified with the will (of God). The instrumental logic of polemos inaugurated by the classical Greeks as private war and the will of self (vaguely familiar to the Greeks, but nonetheless present in Aristotle) is then reworked into a theology of war, as the ontology of operativity and command is identified with the will of God. Located within the field of critical analysis, the dissertation draws on, in particular, the work of Michel Foucault. Taking its cue from Foucault's analysis of war, the military organisation and biopolitics, the dissertation shows how the biopolitical idea of managing life and survival can be traced to the ontology of command and operativity that once found its lowly beginning with the Greek idea of steering war [polemos]. The idea of steering war, the dissertation argues, is a truly fundamental structure of Western politics occupying the threshold on which the relation between the political and man is realised.
Supervisor: Frost, Mervyn Lowne ; Reid, Julian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available