Since the end of the Cold War, the world has seen the advent of what have variously been called the "New Wars" or "Hybrid Wars". These general labels refer to the new forms of armed conflict that the armed forces of the industrial democracies have been involved in. The new conflicts interlink low and high intensity encounters, combine criminal, ethnic and national interests, and often involve mixes of insurgencies, rebellions, or civil wars. While the armed forces have struggled to find a diverse set of solutions for the challenges these wars pose, this workshop will explore whether it is necessary to develop new tools for the social scientific analysis and understanding of contemporary military action. Accordingly, the workshop seeks to focus on newer – or combinations of newer and older – analytical tools, methodologies and theories for the study of the combat formations (joint ground forces and allied configurations) of the industrial democracies in theater.

At the same time (and with bit of an exaggertation), however, it seems that the social scientific study of these militaries' combat formations seems to be on the whole stuck in the useful tools developed in the hey-day of conventional wars dating back to World War One and especially World War Two. Indeed the theoretical and conceptual armature of approaches developed during this period and still used today focuses on such classic issues as cohesion and leadership, small group dynamics and communication, attitudes and motivations, stress and adjustment or socialization and unit morale. While not negating the importance and analytical fruitfulness of these subjects of research we endeavor to actively explore new ideas that may further our understanding of combat formations in current day armed conflict. Such formations include all of the basic elements but are subtler and more diverse in their technology, composition and even their fighting ethos.

We seek papers to eventually be published in an edited volume on actions-in-theater (that is not about civil-military relations, professional identities and dynamics or recruitment and retention).

Towards that end we analyses of some of the following or other themes.

New forms of resilience
Swift trust and instant, ad-hoc units
Emergent leadership structures in theater
Mediating structures between combat units and between them and civilian entities.
Hyphenated roles in theater
Sense-making within complexity
High and low intensity military occupation
Distal (not only face to face) communication in firefights
Special forcification and changed modes of action
Sound and war
The social and psychological dimensions of new military technology

Interested participants please provide an abstract of 300 words and send it to one of the organizers Eyal Ben-Ari at, Uzi Ben-Shalom at or Carmit Padan at

The workshop will be hosted by the Dan Shomron Center for Society, Security and Peace at Kinneret Academic College on 16-17 July 2017.

The Center will provide subsidized accommodations, meals and transportation from and back to Tel Aviv. The workshop will include guided tours to a kibbutz and the Golan Heights (site of the 1973 War) and a lecture on the military challenges Israel faces today.

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