Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Harry F. Dahms

Committee Members

Steven P. Dandaneau, Paul K. Gellert


The academic discipline of Sociology has rarely broached the subject of war and its recursive relationship with society. This paper addresses three major approaches in several disciplines that can be deemed ‘economically deterministic’: Marxist, Liberal, and Realist. These approaches can be useful for certain questions, but also leave out, or cloud other non-economic variables in understanding war – notably culture and military variables themselves. By using Karl Polanyi’s thesis regarding the “Myth of the Hundred Years’ Peace” (1815-1914) as a foil, the historical case of war in the nineteenth century is used to highlight the nature of war in European modernity and capitalism.

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