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Ian Roxborough


Professor Emeritus
Ph.D. 1977, University of Wisconsin at Madison

Areas of Interest

War and the Military; Revolutions; and Organizational Sociology


My research falls within the comparative-historical study of warfare, empire, and revolution. I am interested large-scale collective political violence, and in particular in the social bases of military strategy, doctrine, and threat assessment. Military analysts are amateur sociologists, creating theories about how military operations change society. I attempt to evaluate and explain these lay theories of society held by the military. I am currently working on two broad projects stemming from these general interests.

The first is a comparative-historical sociology-1 of counterinsurgency and counterrevolution. As part of this, I examine theories of counterinsurgency and assess their sociological validity. The second research project is a study of military occupations of other countries. I ask what leads to military intervention, what sorts of problems military occupiers face, how they deal with resistance, what sorts of state-building projects they have, how they understand the societies they control, and how they eventually disengage from these occupations. This work is based on archival research in Britain and the United States.