Conference Essay: Combat-Related Killings and Democratic Accountability: Towards an Understanding of the Cultural Capacities to Deal with Matters of War


  • Martina Kolanoski Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main
  • Oren Livio University of Haifa
  • Thomas Scheffer Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main



accountability, warfare, democratic control, methodology, ethnomethodology, critical discourse analysis, critical ethnomethodology


This report was written by the organizers of the workshop "Accounting for Combat-Related Killings," which took place at the Goethe University Frankfurt in July 2014. Scholars from Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States,, Canada, and Germany came together to present and discuss case studies on the discourse practices involved in accounting for combat-related killings in different national and transnational contexts. Intending to reflect on the methodological skills needed to analyze newly available process data, the workshop brought together scholars using different methodological approaches (here mainly ethnomethodology and critical discourse analysis). In regard to the global trend towards increasing numbers of so called permanent, asymmetric, small, and permanent wars, the report turns to concepts, methods, and empirical findings that foster understandings of the difficulties war generates at social, cultural and political levels as well as the manner in which these predicaments are negotiated, denied, or deflected. The report summarizes the workshop by presenting the papers in a specific order, beginning with accounting in combat, followed by tribunals of accounting, and finally the sedimentation of accounting in cultural representations.



Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Martina Kolanoski, Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main

Martina KOLANSKI is a research associate, junior lecturer and doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. She holds a Master's degree (Magister Artium) in political science with minors in history and public law. Her research and teaching focuses on law & society, and the democratic accountability of military activities. Currently she is working on her PhD thesis in which she investigates the practices of accounting for combat related killing.

Oren Livio, University of Haifa

Oren LIVIO is lecturer at the Department of Communication at the University of Haifa. He received his Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, his Master's degree from the Department of Communication at the University of Haifa, and his Bachelor's degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Communication and Psychology majors). His research focuses on the ways in which people make sense of abstract concepts such as nationalism, citizenship, and military service in their everyday lives. He also studies theoretical implications of the relationship between discourse and space, particularly in contexts associated with civic participation, protest, and the use of technology. His research has been published in Journal of Communication, Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, and The Communication Review.

Thomas Scheffer, Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main

Thomas SCHEFFER is professor for interpretative social research at the Goethe University Frankfurt. His research interest includes various ethnographies of stateness: on immigration institutions, on law-in-procedure, on parliamentary politics. Some methodological concepts related to his works are "thick comparison," the "trans-sequential analysis," and "analytical ethnography."




How to Cite

Kolanoski, M., Livio, O., & Scheffer, T. (2015). Conference Essay: Combat-Related Killings and Democratic Accountability: Towards an Understanding of the Cultural Capacities to Deal with Matters of War. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 16(2).