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Complex Emergencies Hardcover – 1 Jan 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Polity Press; 1 edition (1 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745640192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745640198
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2.8 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,991,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

"A much more sophisticated contribution than most ... a valuable contribution to the ever–growing literature on conflict and violence."
Times Literary Supplement

"Complex emergencies aims to analyse the various abusive systems of government that have created the world′s recent humanitarian disasters. It is an important and challenging book and, being well edited and thoroughly researched, it achieves its stated aim."
International Affairs

"A lucid and highly accessible volume and an essential text for anyone wishing to understand the multifaceted interaction between conflict and its benefactors."
Journal of Peace Research

"The great value of this book is that it enables understanding of the causes of complex emergencies. It provides powerful, detailed analysis of many specific instances from across the globe."
Third Way

"Combining critical theorizing and detailed knowledge of conflict zones around the world, Keen challenges a mountain of received wisdoms, urban myths, and simplified understandings regarding collective violence, aid, reconstruction, and peace–building."
Making Sense of Darfur

"Recommended for scholars of international relations and development studies. It provides an important contribution to the literature by synthesizing existing research about the dilemmas of trying to intervene in complex emergencies that initially may seem irrational to outside observers but ultimately make sense from the perspective of the different interests involved."
Journal of Refugee Studies

"Complex Emergencies is the indispensable text on the topic of internal war and its humanitarian implications. It analyses how conflict functions systemically and the role of psychological factors in extreme violence. Moreover, despite dealing with such a difficult subject, this book is also a delight to read."
Alex de Waal, Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University

"In providing a powerful corrective to the urge to dismiss African wars or terrorism as mindless violence, this book represents David Keen at his incisive best. In this comprehensive and challenging review of complex emergencies, Keen brilliantly shows how factors often dismissed as irrational or unforeseen actually function to constitute the predicament in question. For anyone seriously concerned with what is happening in the world s disaster zones – whether student, policy–maker or general public – you will not find a better or more illuminating guide."
Mark Duffield, University of Bristol

From the Back Cover

If you thought the point of war was to win, this book will make you think again.

David Keen questions the model of war as a contest between two sides aiming at political and military victory, and he also rejects the contrasting view that war represents a collapse into anarchy, mindless violence and ethnic hatred. Rather than a contest or a collapse, war is analysed as a system that has significant functions and that yields complex economic, political and psychological benefits. Some may be more interested in prolonging a war than in ending it. War may help elites to derail democracy and suppress dissent; it may be profitable for government and rebel actors; and it may allow armed groups to enjoy a sense of power over unarmed civilians.

This book argues that understanding the complex functions of wars alongside other forms of human disaster, such as famine and ethnic strife, is essential if we are to reduce suffering and move towards lasting peace agreements.

Complex Emergencies will be essential reading for students of development, political economy, political science and international relations.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By loveandpolisci on 18 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
Complex Emergencies provides an excellent overview for anyone who is seeking to enter the fields of international development and conflict resolution. Keen, a professor at the London School of Economics, observes a wide variety of issues, explaining them in clear detail and viewing them from an entirely different angle from many other academics. Topics include the effects and functions of famines, the greed vs. grievance debate, the debate over peace, and whether or not ethnic conflicts are actually ethnic.

This book is highly recommended -- a must read for all aspiring development workers and academics.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Whitehawk on 20 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
first off this book is well done and thats why i have it 4 stars, however i got this book as from what i could see it was a very one sided view on 'complex emergencies' I would have to say as a manager in humanitarian disasters its important to be aware of all sides to one topic and this book is a intersting read however some of its ideas are not main stream and should be read with a pintch of salt for lack of a better word! What i like about this book is that over all it highlights the bad sides as well as the good! overall its fine read well worth getting. just keep an open mind!
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Format: Paperback
The book helps clarify the complex nature of many emergencies in the developing world. Professor Keen, teaches a course with the same name at the London School of Economics. The book and the course are amazing. I would defiantly recommend it for anyone interested in the developing world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Five Stars 12 Feb. 2015
By Hina A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great condition!
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