Posthuman Soldiers in Postmodern War

Citation:

Gray, Chris Hables. 2003. “Posthuman Soldiers in Postmodern War.” Body & Society 9 (4): 215–26. doi:10.1177/135703403773684739.

Author: Chris Hables Gray

Abstract:

The centrality of human-machine weapon systems is a key aspect of postmodern war. Since 1939 such systems have proliferated while improved interfaces have led to several types of actual cyborg soldiers. As the crisis of postmodern war deepens it is producing a series of quite different militarized bodies. Cyborgs proliferate in type so it is no surprise that we have pilot-cyborgs and tele-operators, info-cyborgs (from political operatives to clerks and including all the servants of the computers and weapons systems), and various fighting cyborg soldiers and sailors. There has also been a resurgence of a type of irregular warrior that many commentators describe as bestial. It is not a coincidence that while humanity is on the verge of producing real posthumans (quite possibly for military applications) so-called “prehuman” types of war have broken out across the globe. War is based on bodies and its skewed logics have driven many cyborgian developments. Now, both war and our cyborg society are involved in a linked crisis fueled by the relentless march of technoscience that has made modern war impossible and posthumans probable. The future of the human, and of a multitude of potential posthumanities, will largely be determined by how this crisis is resolved.

Topics: Armed Conflict, "New Wars", Gender, Masculinity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Violence, Weapons /Arms

Year: 2003

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