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Robowar dreams: US military technophilia and global south urbanization

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephen Graham



This paper seeks to open up to critical scrutiny the attempts currently being made to re-engineer post-cold war US military power to directly confront global south urbanisation. Through analysing the discourses produced by US military commentators about 'urban warfare', and the purported military, technological and robotic solutions that might allow US forces to dominate and control global south cities in the near to medium-term future, the paper demonstrates that such environments are being widely essentialised as spaces which necessarily work to undermine the USA's military's high-technology systems for surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting. The paper shows how, amid the ongoing urban insurgency in Iraq, widescale efforts are being made to 'urbanise' these military systems so that US military forces can attempt to assert high-tech dominance over the fine-grained geographies of global south cities in the future. This includes an examination of how, by 2007, US forces, in close collaboration with the Israeli military, had already begun to implement ideas of robotised or automated urban warfare to counter the complex insurgencies in Iraq. The paper concludes with a critique of the urban and robotic turns in US military doctrine.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Graham S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: City

Year: 2008

Volume: 12

Issue: 1

Pages: 25-49

Print publication date: 01/04/2008

Date deposited: 17/03/2010

ISSN (print): 1360-4813

ISSN (electronic): 1470-3629

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/13604810801933511


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