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Mercenaries, mamluks and militia - towards a cross-cultural typology of military service

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Chapter Summary

This chapter answers three questions. First, can we arrive at a consistent, cross-cultural typology or set of definitions of the varieties of paid and unpaid military service? Second, can we make those definitions correspond, at least roughly, to variations in different societies' views of variations of military service, especially as they affected notions of the cultural identity of paid fighters? And third, can we do this without, in the words of Bernard Bachrach, 'committing sociology'? The chapter then builds a model abstracted from a wide range of comparative cases rather than conducting a close study of any individual case or cases, it proposes a typology built around two intersecting axes, producing a distribution field consisting of four quadrants. The points placed on this graph should be taken as somewhat generalized versions or best estimates of weighted mean centers of gravity of truly specific cases that would scatter around these centers of gravity.

Keywords: cross-cultural typology; Mamluks; Mercenaries; military service; Militia; weighted mean centers of gravity



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