Posthuman Soldiers in Postmodern War


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

Author: Chris Hables Gray


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

© 2024 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at