Sociology (SOCI) 539

Sociology of War and Organized Violence (Revision 1)

SOCI 539 course cover

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Precluded Course: SOCI 339 — SOCI 539 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for SOCI 339.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

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Sociology of War and Organized Violence focuses on the study of war as a social process involving social institutions, social structures, and the socially learned behaviour of individual social actors. By adopting and adapting concepts, theoretical perspectives, and research methods already successfully employed in other branches of sociological research—such as crime, deviance, stratification, demography, and ethnic and race relations—the sociology of war offers new opportunities to study those aspects of warfare and organized violence that have previously been neglected and overlooked in historical, biological, anthropological, military, and geopolitical studies.


Sociology of War and Organized Violence is organized around several broad criteria and comprises ten units:

  • Unit 1 Studying War
  • Unit 2 Theories of War
  • Unit 3 Sociology of War
  • Unit 4 Pre-Modern War
  • Unit 5 Modern War
  • Unit 6 Women in War
  • Unit 7 The Media and War
  • Unit 8 Civilians in War
  • Unit 9 Humanitarian Military Interventions
  • Unit 10 Rehumanizing the Enemy


Your final grade in Sociology 539 will be based on the grades you achieve on three written assignments and a final examination. The weighting of each assignment and the exam are indicated in the chart below.

Assignment/Exam Weighting
Review Assignment 20%
Research Assignment, Part 1: Research Proposal 10%
Research Assignment, Part 2: Research Project 40%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To receive credit for the course, you must obtain a grade of 60 percent or better on the final exam and an overall course grade of at least 60 percent. Should you obtain less than the required grade on the final exam, you may write a supplemental final exam. A passing grade of 60 percent is also required for the supplemental exam.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

This course is taught by a combination of three textbooks, one DVD, online materials, and academic support.


The Sociology of War and Violence, by Siniša Malešević, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

War: The Lethal Custom, by Gwynne Dyer, Vintage Canada, 2016 (2nd revised edition).

War, by Sebastian Junger, Harper, 2010.

Other material

Streaming Video, Restrepo, National Geographic

All other course materials, including assigned reading and viewing and a unit-by-unit study guide, are available online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, November 4, 2019.