Fighting for a Living
Fighting for a Living
A Comparative Study of Military Labour 1500-2000
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15.6 x 23.4 cm
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1. Introduction: Understanding changes in military recruitment and employment worldwide Erik-Jan Zürcher 2. Military labour in China, circa 1500 David M. Robinson 3. From Mamluks to Mansabdars: a social history of military service in South Asia, circa 1500 to circa 1650 Kaushik Roy 4. On the Ottoman Janissaries* Gilles Veinstein 5. Soldiers in Western Europe, circa 1500-1790 Frank Tallett 6. The Scottish mercenary as migrant labourer in Europe, 1550-1650 James Miller 7. Change and continuity in mercenary armies: Central Europe, 1650-1750 Michael Sikora 8. Peasants fighting for a living in early modern North India Dirk Kolff 9. “True to their salt”: Mechansims for recruiting and managing military labour in the army of the East India Company during the Carnatic Wars in India Robert Johnson 10. The scum of every country, the refuse of mankind: recruiting the British Army in the eighteenth century Peter Way 11. Mobilization of warrior populations in the Ottoman context, 1750-1850 Virginia H. Aksan 12. Military employment in Qing dynasty China Christine Moll-Murata and Ulrich Theobald 13. Military service and the Russian social order, 1649-1861 Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter 14. The French army 1789-1914: Volunteers, pressed soldiers and conscripts Thomas Hippler 15. The Dutch army in transition: from an all-volunteer force to a cadre-militia army, 1795-1830 Herman Amersfoort 16. Draft and draftees in Italy, 1861-1914 Marco Rovinello 17. Italian colonial troops in East Africa Uoldelul Chelati Dirar 18. Nation building, war experiences and European models: the rejection of conscription in Britain Jörn Leonhard 19. Mobilizing military labour in the age of total war: Ottoman conscription before and during the Great war Mehmet Besikçi 20. Soldiering as work: the all-volunteer force in the United States of America Beth Bailey 21. Private contractors from the nineteen nineties to the present. A review essay Yelda Kaya

Reviews and Features

"Historians have long overlooked the labour involved in soldiering. But now, with the publication of Fighting for a Living, the world of military workers is brought to the forefront of scholarly inquiry. The editors throw a critical shining light on the nature of war and the nature of work for the millions of individuals who have contributed their labour, and often their lives, for the militaries of the world." Nathan Wise, School of Humanities at the University of New England, Australia

Erik-Jan Zürcher (ed.)

Fighting for a Living

A Comparative Study of Military Labour 1500-2000

Fighting for a Living investigates the circumstances that have produced starkly different systems of recruiting and employing soldiers in different parts of the globe over the last 500 years. It does so on the basis of a wide range of case studies taken from Europe, Africa, America, the Middle East and Asia. The novelty of "Fighting for a Living" is that it is not military history in the traditional sense (concentrating at wars and battles or on military technology) but that it looks at military service and warfare as forms of labour, and at the soldiers as workers. Military employment offers excellent opportunities for this kind of international comparison. Where many forms of human activity are restricted by the conditions of nature or the stage of development of a given society, organized violence is ubiquitous. Soldiers, in one form or another, are always part of the picture, in any period and in every region. Nevertheless, Fighting for a Living is the first study to undertake a systematic comparative analysis of military labour. It therefore speaks to two distinct, and normally quite separate, communities: that of labour historians and that of military historians.

Erik-Jan Zürcher

Erik-Jan Zürcher is director of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, as well as member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Turkish Studies at Leiden University.