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About Martin Shaw

Martin Shaw is a political sociologist interested in war, genocide and racism, who now works on political change in Britain. His website is here. He is research professor of international relations at the Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals(IBEI), professorial fellow in international relations and human rights at the University of Roehampton, and emeritus professor the University of Sussex. Among his books are The New Western Way of War: Risk-Transfer War and its Crisis in Iraq (Polity, 2005) and What is Genocide? (2nd edition, Polity, 2015). 

Articles by Martin Shaw

This week's editor

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Sri Lanka: power and accountability

The degrading aftermath of Sri Lanka’s civil war demands international action to ensure protection of its civilians from their overweening rulers, says Martin Shaw.

The Karadzic trial and Bosnian realities

The trial of the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is a test of justice and accountability over terrible crimes. But the trend of events in Bosnia itself also demands the international community’s urgent attention, says Martin Shaw.

DR Congo: arc of war, map of responsibility

The political dynamics of conflict in Africa’s most complex region must be understood if enduring solutions are to be found. Martin Shaw reads fellow openDemocracy contributor Gerard Prunier’s book “From Genocide to Continental War”. 

Israeli settlements and “ethnic cleansing”

The argument that the dismantling of Israeli communities in the Palestinian West Bank would amount to "ethnic cleansing" is increasingly being heard. It deserves close examination of a kind its proponents may not welcome, says Martin Shaw.

Afghanistan and Iraq: western wars, genocidal risks

The enormous harm inflicted on civilians by the “new western way of war” can be measured in tens of thousands of deaths and displacements. But Washington and London’s responsibility goes even wider, says Martin Shaw.

(This article was published on 24 July 2009)

Sri Lanka - camps, media…genocide?

What kind of violence has the Sri Lankan state been committing against its Tamil civilian population as the island‘s civil war ended; on what scale and with what intentions? Martin Shaw explores the difficult terrain where war, atrocity and genocide meet.

The trouble with guns: Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ireland

The use of violence as an instrument of political liberation leads rather to failure and regression, says Martin Shaw.

A century of genocide, 1915-2009

The Ottoman-era massacres of the Armenians also belong to a century of "mass-death" episodes forged in war, state rivalry, ethnic targeting and expulsion, says Martin Shaw. 

The Kosovo war: between two eras

The Nato assault that prised Kosovo from Slobodan Milosevic's grip in March-June 1999 has been overshadowed by the Iraq war four years later. It deserves renewed attention both as the last of the major ex-Yugoslav conflicts and as a pioneering example of modern "risk-transfer war", says Martin Shaw.

(This article was first published on 31 March 2009)

Sudan, the ICC and genocide: a fateful decision

The logic of the International Criminal Court's case against President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan is to make genocide ever less cogent as a legal category, says Martin Shaw.

Uses of genocide: Kenya, Georgia, Israel, Sri Lanka

The concept of genocide has become a weapon of political polemic. But the violence inflicted on civilians in four conflicts shows how it is also rooted in the logic of modern wars, says Martin Shaw.

Israel’s politics of war

The impact of Israel's three-week assault on Gaza on the civilian Palestinian population is revealing of its true character, says Martin Shaw.

(This article was first published on 19 January 2009)

After the Georgia war: the challenge to citizen action

The Russia-Georgia conflict has revealed the poverty of global political leadership. It is time for democratic citizens to fill the vacuum, says Martin Shaw.

My Lai to Haditha: war, massacre and justice

A thread of degenerate war and military impunity links atrocities in the Vietnam and Iraq conflicts, says Martin Shaw.

The genocide file: reply to Anthony Dworkin

The admitted evidence of Serbian atrocities in Bosnia makes the International Court of Justice ruling self-contradictory, insists Martin Shaw.

The International Court of Justice: Serbia, Bosnia, and genocide

The world court's decision to clear Serbia of genocide in Bosnia is an exercise in denial, says Martin Shaw.

Genocide: rethinking the concept

An understanding of the term "genocide" that draws afresh on the experience of the last century is needed to ensure greater human security in the next, says Martin Shaw.

The myth of progressive war

Christopher Cramer's focus on the regenerative effects of war misses both history's lessons and a change in the nature of modern war, argues Martin Shaw.

The choice for protesters: anti-war or peace?

The reality of war challenges peace movements to rethink their strategy. One lesson of earlier campaigns is that activists need to move beyond mere ‘anti-war’ onto the territory of justice, solidarity, and human rights.
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