American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain by Roberto J. GonzálezAmerican Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain by Roberto J. González

American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain

byRoberto J. González

Paperback | February 15, 2009

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 85 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


Ships within 3-5 weeks

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Politicians, pundits, and Pentagon officials are singing the praises of a kinder, gentler American counterinsurgency. Some claim that counterinsurgency is so sophisticated and effective that it is the “graduate level of war.” Private military contracting firms have jumped on the bandwagon, and many have begun employing anthropologists, political scientists, psychologists, and sociologists to help meet the Department of Defense’s new demand. The $60 million Human Terrain System (HTS), an intelligence gathering program that embeds social scientists with combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan, dramatically illustrates the approach. But when the military, transnational corporations, and the human sciences become obsessed with controlling the “human terrain”—the civilian populations of Iraq and Afghanistan—what are the consequences? In this timely pamphlet, Roberto González offers a searing critique of HTS, showing how the history of anthropology can be used to illuminate the problems of turning “culture” into a military tool.
Roberto J. González is associate professor of anthropology at San Jose State University. He is author of Zapotec Science: Farming and Food in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca and editor of Anthropologists in the Public Sphere: Speaking Out on War, Peace, and American Power.
Title:American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human TerrainFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:134 pages, 7 × 4.5 × 0.4 inShipping dimensions:7 × 4.5 × 0.4 inPublished:February 15, 2009Publisher:Prickly Paradigm PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0979405742

ISBN - 13:9780979405747


Table of Contents

1.  The Myth of a "Gentler" Counterinsurgency
2.  The Origins of Human Terrain
3.  Phoenix Rising? The Birth of HTS
4.  Imaginary Terrorists, Virtual Tribes: HTS as Technological Fantasy
5.  Social Science and the Imperial Imperative
Glossary of Terms

Editorial Reviews

"González strongly critiques the human terrain concept in its historical and contemporary contexts."—Inside Higher Ed