City Research Online

The Armed Drone

Kalpouzos, I. ORCID: 0000-0001-6236-0173 (2018). The Armed Drone. In: Hohman, J. & Joyce, D. (Eds.), International Law's Objects. (pp. 118-129). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oso/9780198798200.001.0001


The most widely reproduced image of an armed drone is a Photoshop construct combining the object, the missile, and the Afghan landscape. This chapter enquires into the symbolic and material functions of the object in relation to international humanitarian law through three perspectives/images: that of the object itself as proliferated in the media; the image(s) the object generates for targeted killing; and that of the object for the targeted. The qualities of the object and those images speak to the promise and threat that international law(yers) see in the armed drone. The chapter assesses and critiques the drone’s promise of precision, in targeting and governing armed conflict, as well as the promises of asymmetry and invulnerability. It argues that the object of the armed drone plays a mythical function, in establishing a ‘new paradigm’ of war and law through new weapons technology in the context of the ‘war on terror’.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is the accepted manuscript of the chapter Kalpouzos, I. (2018). The Armed Drone. In Hohman, J. (Ed) International Law's Objects. (pp. 118-129). Oxford: Oxford University Press, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press.
Publisher Keywords: armed conflict, war, drones, new weapons technology, international humanitarian law, targeting, targeted killing, war on terror, images
Subjects: K Law
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > International Law and Affairs Group
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