In recent decades, few sociologists have engaged in the study of civil war. For many individuals across the world, civil war is nonetheless an important reality, worthy of sociological attention. As a new contributing editor, I will try to increase such attention. Using this platform, I will raise sociological questions about civil war, and identify points at which sociologists can contribute to, or have contributed to, our understanding of civil war. The current debate on Syria will serve as a starting point.
Syria has been engaged in a civil war for more than two years now. Recently, a chemical attack on civilians took place. Various world leaders have held the Syrian regime responsible for the attack. They have accordingly been discussing a punitive expedition against the Syrian regime. The plans for such an expedition have been put on hold, pending plans for a diplomatic resolution. But the possibility of a punitive expedition is still present. Such an expedition would, arguably, not serve to topple the regime. However, it could influence the support of the Syrian army for the regime. Military support for the Syrian regime deserves attention. Continue reading