1st Edition

Cultural Politics of Targeted Killing On Drones, Counter-Insurgency, and Violence

By Kyle Grayson Copyright 2016
    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    230 Pages
    by Routledge

    The deployment of remotely piloted air platforms (RPAs) - or drones - has become a defining feature of contemporary counter-insurgency operations. Scholarly analysis and public debate has primarily focused on two issues: the legality of targeted killing and whether the practice is effective at disrupting insurgency networks, and the intensive media and activist scrutiny of the policy processes through which targeted killing decisions have been made. While contributing to these ongoing discussions, this book aims to determine how targeted killing has become possible in contemporary counter-insurgency operations undertaken by liberal regimes.

    Each chapter is oriented around a problematisation that has shaped the cultural politics of the targeted killing assemblage. Grayson argues that in order to understand how specific forms of violence become prevalent, it is important to determine how problematisations that enable them are shaped by a politico-cultural system in which culture operates in conjunction with technological, economic, governmental, and geostrategic elements. The book also demonstrates that the actors involved - what they may be attempting to achieve through the deployment of this form of violence, how they attempt to achieve it, and where they attempt to achieve it - are also shaped by culture.

    The book demonstrates how the current social relations prevalent in liberal societies contain the potential for targeted killing as a normal rather than extraordinary practice. It will be of great use for academic specialists and graduate students in international studies, geography, sociology, cultural studies and legal studies.

    Chapter One: The Cultural Politics of the Targeted Killing Assemblage 

    Chapter Two: Beyond the Exception: The Legal Problematisation of Targeted Killing

    Chapter Three: The Politics of Targeted Killing

    Chapter Four: Science, Capitalism, and the RPA

    Chapter Five: The Aesthetic Subjects of Targeted Killing

    Chapter Six: The Quotidian Geopolitics of Targeted Killing Strikes

    Chapter Seven: Concluding Remarks on the Cultural Politics of Targeted Killing


    Kyle Grayson is a senior lecturer in international politics at Newcastle University, UK. His research interests are in the areas of political violence, security, culture, identity, and critical social theory. He is the author of Chasing Dragons: Security, Identity, and Illicit Drugs in Canada (2008).