From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Ancient Greek πόλεμος (pólemos, war; battle) +‎ -logy (suffix indicating the study of a particular subject). The word is cognate with French polémologie.[1]



polemology (countable and uncountable, plural polemologies)

  1. The study of human conflict and war.
    Antonym: irenology
    • 1815 July, “List of New Publications”, in The Critical Review: Or, Annals of Literature (Series the Fifth), volume II, number I, London: Printed for R. Baldwin, [], →OCLC, page 111, column 1:
      POLEMOLOGY. The Principles of War exhibited in the Practice of the Camp, and as developed in a Series of General Orders of the Duke of Wellington; with parallel Orders of George II. Duke of Marlborough, &c. &c. 8vo.
    • 1870 July 1, Frederic Harrison, “Professor [John Elliott] Cairnes on M. [Auguste] Comte and Political Economy”, in John Morley, editor, The Fortnightly Review, volume VIII (New Series; volume XIV overall), number XLIII, London: Chapman and Hall, [], →OCLC, page 43:
      [I]f all the sciences were similarly subdivided, all use in classification would be lost by the multiplicity of the sciences; [] The Destructive, as well as the Industrial, instinct in Man would claim a separate science; and we should have a Polemology or Polemonomy, and about 10,000 other sciences.
    • 1982, Antonio Papisca, “Destructive Effects of International Economic Competition”, in Frans A. M. Alting von Geusau, Jacques Pelkmans, editors, National Economic Security: Perceptions, Threats and Policies, Tilburg, Netherlands: John F. Kennedy Institute, →ISBN, page 183:
      In the language of international economic relations the use of the terms employed in the field of polemology occurs more and more frequently. People speak of warm and cold economic wars, guerrillas, financial and commercial aggression, economic security, economic peace-keeping, and so on.
    • 1993, Herman Parret, “Strategic Rationality”, in Stuart Rennie, transl., The Aesthetics of Communication: Pragmatics and Beyond (Library of Rhetorics; 2), Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, →ISBN; softcover edition, Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media, 2012, →DOI, →ISBN, section 3 (The Art of War or Kriegskunst), page 31:
      Strategy as calculus on the one hand, and strategy as manipulation/manoeuvre on the other: these are two types presupposing two kinds of polemology. The two conceptions of strategy are in fact derived from two ways of thinking about war.
    • 2006, Julian Reid, “Epilogue”, in The Biopolitics of the War on Terror: Life Struggles, Liberal Modernity and the Defence of Logistical Societies (Reappraising the Political), Manchester, New York, N.Y.: Manchester University Press, →ISBN, page 129:
      If we desire a resolution of the paradoxes which liberal modernity throws at us, and which are the crux of this contemporary global civil war over the political constitution of life, we may want to establish other ways of construing the life of human being, ones which compromise its seemingly endless polemologies and messianic yearnings for Terror.
    • 2008, Stephen Morton, Stephen Bygrave, editors, Foucault in an Age of Terror: Essays on Biopolitics and the Defence of Society, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, →ISBN, page 30:
      Against such polemologies, we find the [Michel] Foucault of Society Must be Defended posing the problem of war and its relation to modern political power in starkly different terms of a problematisation.
    • 2012, Jack Z. Bratich, “Sovereign Networks, Pre-emptive Transgression, Communications Warfare: Case Studies in Social Movement Media”, in Ted Gournelos, David J. Gunkel, editors, Transgression 2.0: Media, Culture, and the Politics of a Digital Age, New York, N.Y., London: Continuum International Publishing Group, →ISBN, part IV (Law, Social Disturbance, and Political Unrest), page 226:
      Polemology locates popular culture in a long (even archaic and nonhuman) tradition of warfare. The "ageless art" of tricks and ruses permeates the texts and practices comprising everyday life, a cat-and-mouse game with power that also produces innovation, creativity, invention. [] Polemology allows us to bring together media convergence with the history of communications warfare, especially as they involve the very social media often cited as features of convergence politics.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ polemology, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, September 2006; polemology”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]