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Date Published: 6/25/2013
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Arthur and Marilouise Kroker, Editors

PACTAC Videos: DRONE WARS

Dear CTheory Readers,

We wish to inform you that there is a new video series on “Drone Wars” available at: http://pactac.net/series/digital-inflections-drone-warfare/

The CTheory seminar on Drone Wars was held at the Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture on June 5th, 2013. The seminar includes short presentations, discussion and a new video by Jackson 2bears, “After the Drones.”

Kind regards,

Arthur and Marilouise Kroker

Editors, CTheory


DRONE WARS

The increasing use of drones as a tactical military strategy deployed in the “War on Terror,” raises three questions of urgent significance for contemporary political and social theory. First, as Judith Butler has noted in Frames of War one of the primary division lines of contemporary politics involves “bodies that count” and, conversely, bodies that don’t count. In this case, the deployment of drones as a military strategy might be viewed as premised on a prior moral calculation concerning whose bodies are deemed grieveable and thus worthy of remembrance and those rendered, in effect, ethically invisible. Second, while drone warfare involves sophisticated cybernetic technologies, it also involves a prior ontological understanding concerning the existence of good and evil in the world. For example, President Obama’s justification for the use of military violence in the exercise of the “Just War” is explicitly based on a public rhetoric supporting an absolutist conception of evil. Third, the seemingly widespread acceptance of drones for purposes ranging from surveillance, targeting and exploration is, in the end, perhaps less a novel technological development than one which indicates a fundamental change in human subjectivity. In this case, perhaps drones can be so acceptable because we have passed beyond human subjectivity into something very different, still unexplored, namely a new form of subjectivity anticipated in the writings of Martin Heidegger, Peter Sloterdijk, and Jean Baudrillard.