Chapter 4: Civilization and savagery
As discussed in the preceding chapter, civilization and war are said to share a common heritage. It has also been suggested by Walter Benjamin that there “is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism” or savagery. This contention is thought to be particularly pertinent when applied to situations of armed conflict or the theatre of war. This chapter, then, seeks to situate and explain the concepts of civilization and savagery, particularly in the context of times of war. Along with Chapter 6, it is more concerned with what is described as civilized and savage conduct in war, or what is known in just war and international humanitarian law literature as jus in bello. As explained in the Introduction, throughout much of organized human history, peoples, societies and states have been hierarchically divided on the basis of their proximity to the ideal of civilization. The most advanced collectives of peoples, civilized states, sit at the apex of civilizational hierarchy, while those at the other end of the scale are said to be not far removed from the state of nature.
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