Minefields to Minespace: Tracing the Changes in Remote and Automated Violence from Booby Traps and Landmines to IEDs and Killer Robots

The US M18A1 Claymore Mine: an artifact of when militaries thought of war as having a simple division between the "Front" and "Rear".

The US M18A1 Claymore Mine: an artifact of a certain military discourse that divides war simply between the “Front” and “Rear”. Trends in contemporary conflict challenge this binary notion.

The academic journal Political Geography has just published my article on the changing ways remote and automated violence has been deployed over the last century. Here is an abstract of the article:

From minefields to minespace: An archeology of the changing architecture of autonomous killing in US Army field manuals on landmines, booby traps and IEDs

Since WWI, militaries and armed groups have used remote and autonomous explosive traps – landmines, booby traps and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – as a kind of deadly architecture to reengineer terrain inhospitable. Until recently, minefields remained analog, static, and fixed. But technological development and changes in the nature of war have made remote and autonomous violence increasingly mobile, dynamic, and robotic and, rather than being contained in a bounded Cartesian plane, diffused through the very spaces and flows that sustain civilian life. Such “unmanned” weapons are increasingly able to navigate, communicate with each other, identify targets and even kill with minimal human involvement. Mirroring broader changes in the spatial configurations of war, the architectural form of remote and autonomous killing is thus shifting from the two-dimensional minefield to multi-dimensional minespace. This poses challenges to those engaged in humanitarian efforts to demilitarize space. To illustrate these changes, the paper draws on Derek Gregory’s notion of “Everywhere War” and engages in a discursive “archeology” of the minefield as described by US Army mine, booby trap and IED warfare field manuals.

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 12 January 2015.

One Response to “Minefields to Minespace: Tracing the Changes in Remote and Automated Violence from Booby Traps and Landmines to IEDs and Killer Robots”

  1. […] post is here from Bolton’s blog @political […]

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