The Cultural Representations of War
This chapter discusses symbolic representations and cultural interpretations of armed conflict. It presents war as an extension of the state-making and nation-making project through state-directed integration of society, highlighting the effects of nationalist propaganda and mass indoctrination. The chapter addresses how culture pushes societies and individuals to participate in war through a valorization of violence, glorification of their own soldiers, and demonization of the enemy in the mass media and popular culture. Indian social and religious customs and the nature of Indian warfare itself determined the moral conduct of Indian warriors. The Indian warrior was primarily the equivalent of the modern commando or guerilla fighter. More than one European observer concluded that the Indian warrior "uses the same stratagems and cruelty as against the wild beasts." Some aspects of Indian cruelty toward captives which included torture, scalping, beheading and cannibalism may be explained by this close association of war with hunting.