There is more to war than tends to be acknowledged. On average our understanding of armed conflicts corresponds to a scattered collage of images depicting material destruction, loss of life, back-and-forth military campaigns, and failed diplomatic attempts to reach a ceasefire or enable the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance. For the most part these are delivered in descriptive news pieces that straddle euphemistic technical parlance and touching personal vignettes in an almost schizophrenic fashion. Hardly ever do such depictions manage to adequately capture the totality of war.

Salient 2017 approaches war as a social phenomenon that radically transforms existing and gives rise to previously unfathomable forms of human interaction. The aim is neither to examine the general causes of war nor to seek better approaches to conflict prevention. Instead, we hope to unearth those dimensions of war and conflict that tend to remain hidden beneath the surface of mainstream discussions.