Fighting for a Living: A Comparative History of Military Labour 1500-2000
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Fighting for a Living: A Comparative History of Military Labour 1500-2000

By Erik-Jan Zürcher
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Book Description

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. This title was made Open Access by libraries from around the world through Knowledge Unlatched.

Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Understanding changes in military recruitment and employment worldwide
  • Erik-Jan Zürcher
  • Military labor in China, c. 1500
  • David M. Robinson
  • From the mamluks to the mansabdars
  • A social history of military service in South Asia, c. 1500 to c. 1650
  • Kaushik Roy
  • On the Ottoman janissaries (fourteenth-nineteenth centuries)
  • Gilles Veinstein
  • Soldiers in Western Europe, c. 1500-1790
  • Frank Tallett
  • The Scottish mercenary as a migrant labourer in Europe, 1550-1650
  • James Miller
  • Change and continuity in mercenary armies: Central Europe, 1650-1750
  • Michael Sikora
  • Peasants fighting for a living in early modern North India
  • Dirk H.A. Kolff
  • “True to their salt”
  • Mechanisms for recruiting and managing military labour in the army of the East India Company during the Carnatic Wars in India
  • Robert Johnson
  • “The scum of every county, the refuse of mankind”
  • Recruiting the British Army in the eighteenth century
  • Peter Way
  • Mobilization of warrior populations in the Ottoman context, 1750-1850
  • Virginia H. Aksan
  • Military employment in Qing dynasty China
  • Christine Moll-Murata and Ulrich Theobald
  • Military service and the Russian social order, 1649-1861
  • Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter
  • The French army, 1789-1914
  • Volunteers, pressed soldiers, and conscripts
  • Thomas Hippler
  • The Dutch army in transition
  • From all-volunteer force to cadre-militia army, 1795-1830
  • Herman Amersfoort
  • The draft and draftees in Italy, 1861-1914
  • Marco Rovinello
  • Nation-building, war experiences, and European models
  • The rejection of conscription in Britain
  • Jörn Leonhard
  • Mobilizing military labor in the age of total war
  • Ottoman conscription before and during the Great War
  • Mehmet Beşikçi
  • Soldiering as work
  • The all-volunteer force in the United States
  • Beth Bailey
  • Private contractors in war from the 1990s to the present
  • A review essay
  • S. Yelda Kaya
  • Collective bibliography
  • Notes on Contributors
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