This volume explores and develops new social-scientific tools for the analysis and understanding of contemporary military missions in theatre.

Despite the advent of new types of armed conflict, the social-scientific study of militaries in action continues to focus on tools developed in the hey-day of conventional wars. These tools focus on such classic issues as cohesion and leadership, communication and unit dynamics, or discipline and motivation. While these issues continue to be important, most studies focus on organic units (up to and including brigades). By contrast, this volume suggests the utility of concepts related to mission formations – as opposed to ‘units’ or ‘components’ – to better capture the (ongoing) processual nature of the amalgamations and combinations that military involvement in conflicts necessitates. The study of these formations by the social sciences – sociology, social psychology, anthropology, political science and organization science – requires the introduction of new analytical tools to the study of militaries in theatre. As such, this volume utilizes new approaches to social life, organizational dynamics and to armed violence to understand the place of the armed forces in contemporary conflicts and the new tasks they are assigned.

This book will be of much interest to students of military studies, sociology, security studies and International Relations in general.

part I|42 pages

Introduction and Reflections on the Field

chapter 1|20 pages


Mission formations and a new agenda for the study of military units in action 1
ByEyal Ben-Ari, Uzi Ben-Shalom, Thomas Brond, Carmit Padan

chapter 2|20 pages

New directions in military sociology

Reflections on a book project 15 years later
ByEric Ouellet

part II|62 pages

New Organizational Forms and Processes

chapter 3|19 pages

Organizational adaptations in the hunt for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

A review of concepts for analyzing their usefulness 1
ByWilbur J. Scott

chapter 4|27 pages

Bureaucracies, Networks and Warfare in a Fluid Operating Environment

ByJessica Glicken Turnley

chapter 5|14 pages

From leading combat units to leading combat formations

Modularity, loose systems and temporariness
ByEyal Ben-Ari

part III|16 pages

Methodologies for the Study of Military Formations

chapter 6|14 pages

Research approaches to the study of combat formations

A Personal Note
ByUzi Ben-Shalom

part IV|60 pages

Glocalized Mission Formations

chapter 7|18 pages

Institutional isomorphic change in South Korea’s UNPKO mission formation

ByInsoo Kim, Young-Il Choi

chapter 8|26 pages

“Democracy… 120 mm at a time”

Mission formations and operational entrapments in post-9/11 Afghanistan
ByThomas Randrup Pedersen

chapter 9|14 pages

Logics battlefield

IT contracting and military reserves in the Dutch army
ByJoseph Soeters, Gerold de Gooijer, Paul C. van Fenema, Nuno Oliveira

part V|10 pages

Bringing it all Together

chapter 10|8 pages

Integrative epilogue

What’s new about the mission formation approach? Thinking through the military–academic juncture
ByThomas Crosbie