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Bodies of ViolenceTheorizing Embodied Subjects in International Relations$
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Lauren B. Wilcox

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199384488

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384488.001.0001

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Body Counts

Body Counts

The Politics of Embodiment in Precision Warfare

Chapter:
(p.131) 5 Body Counts
Source:
Bodies of Violence
Author(s):

Lauren B. Wilcox

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199384488.003.0006

Chapter 5 addresses a practice of violence referred to as precision warfare, in which virtually risk-free pilots and drone operators use precision weapons systems that target both buildings and individuals and result in foreseeable but accidental deaths of civilians. The author argues that it is not the physical and psychological distance between soldiers and their targets, or the replacement of the humans with technology, that enables this form of warfare. Rather, it is the redefinition of human bodies in terms of the “posthuman” that makes possible the political conditions of life and death for both the targets and civilians. Specifically, the attempted (but ultimately incomplete) transformation of the human body into an information processor enables a certain moral and political calculus of which bodies “count.”

Keywords:   drones, risk, civilians, posthuman, information, warfare

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