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War Amongst the People: Critical Assessments
  • Brings together academic and practitioner expertise to provide a nuanced analysis of contemporary conflict.
  • In association with the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
  • Foreword by General Sir Rupert Smith KCB DSO OBE QGM.


Recent conflicts have required the armed forces to engage in what has been termed ‘war amongst the people’. Such conflicts increasingly require a type of soldier deployed to function as an ‘armed social worker’, as was seen most recently in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. If this increased focus on societal relations has – and should – become the area of prime concern for contemporary armed forces, this poses a series of conceptual and practical questions regarding the ‘people’ concerned and the nature of the society amongst which war is conducted.


Scholars and practitioners come together in this volume to explore how armed forces can make sense of such complexity in conceptual terms and how military actors have practically interacted with local power structures and relations, with both positive and negative effects. It examines armed forces’ engagement at the local level in a contemporary context, and contextualises this within the broader political, strategic, tactical and legal implications this engagement has had at home and overseas.


RMA Sandhurst has long played a key role in the intellectual development of British Army and international officers. In this book, members of our Academic Faculty bring together a distinguished team of scholars and military practitioners to tackle a key concept which challenges those, military and civilian, who seek to better understand the evolving nature of contemporary conflict and how - or indeed whether - external interventions can improve matters.

Maj Gen PAE Nanson CBE

General Officer Commanding and Commandant Sandhurst


290 Pages  I  Size: 234 x 156mm  I  Publication: 13th May 2019

Paperback ISBN: 978 1 912440 02 3  

War Amongst the People: Critical Assessments

  • Foreword: General Sir Rupert Smith. Introduction: Dr Malte Riemann and Dr Norma Rossi. Part One: Conceptual Debates and Critiques Chapter 1: Prof Beatrice Heuser, Rethinking War; Chapter 2: Lt Col Jyri Raitasalo, The Utility - or Futility - of Force? What is Wrong with the ‘War Amongst the People’ Thesis?; Chapter 3: Dr Alex Waterman, Managing ‘War Amongst Peoples’. Part Two: Practical Challenges Chapter 4: Whitney Grespin, The Easy Button: Foreign Military Training as an Exit Plan; Chapter 5: Dr Vladimir Rauta, Conceptualising the Regular-Irregular Engagement:The Strategic Value of Proxies and Auxiliaries in ‘Wars amongst the People’; Chapter 6: Dr Georgina Holmes, Enhancing Operational Effectiveness: Pre-deployment Training for Tactical-level Rwandan Female Military Peacekeepers. Part Three: Legal Debates Chapter 7: Dr Andree-Anne Melancon, Redefining the ‘Combatant’: Just War Theory and ‘Direct Participation in Hostilities’; Chapter 8: Col Grant Davies, Revolving Doors and Human Rights: Detention in Internationalised Non-International Armed Conflict. Part Four: The UK Domestic Context of ‘War Amongst the People’Chapter 9: Major Ian Wilson, UK Domestic Support for Wars: Polls and Public Opinion. Chapter 10: Major John Bailey, ‘War Amongst the People’: Responses in British Land Tactical Doctrine. Conclusion: Dr Norma Rossi and Dr Malte Riemann. Index.

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