The Intimacies of Remote Warfare

                            This seminar investigates how in the highly securitized political climate of post 9/11, the resort to ‘countering threats at a distance’ by means of remo


This seminar investigates how in the highly securitized political climate of post 9/11, the resort to ‘countering threats at a distance’ by means of remote warfare intersects with notions of (in)security, citizenship, legality and human rights. It also seeks to analyze how technological advancements are making it increasingly possible for armed actors to operate across geographical borders, challenging traditional notions of the boundaries of the battlefield.

The spectacular occurrence and mediatization of ‘the terrorist threat’ has transformed Western political debates and institutional arrangements concerning retaliation, privacy, surveillance, exception, secrecy and control. We see how an expanding conglomerate of armed actors is engaged in forms of remote warfare by means of (coalition) air strikes, surveillance programs, training operations, targeted killings and manhunts, often outside conventional war zones in the Middle East and Africa.

This seminar aims to address a lack of evidence on the production, dynamics and impacts of remote warfare. The shadowy nature of remote warfare, and the mobility of its materials, practices and bodies seriously constraints independent research. It is particularly hard to assess local repercussions and trace lines of responsibility and legal accountability. An exchange of ideas, evidence and data-gathering strategies is therefore of key importance.

The Remote Warfare seminar will shed light on the dynamics of the instrumental role law can play in the context of contemporary military operations, but also will examine the histories and ‘intimacies’ of remote warfare as experienced by those actively engaged in, and targeted by remote military intervention. With this in mind, we explore the following questions and topics:

  • Analytical Vocabularies
  • Ethnographies of remote warfare
  • Histories of remote warfare
  • Business of remote warfare
  • Remote warfare and blowback
  • Lawfare
  • Investigating remote warfare

The full program and more information can be found here. 


Registration is manditory and seats are limited. When registering, please indicate which days you wish to attend. Please send an email to 

This event has been funded through the Platform’s Knowledge Management Fund, a mechanism that supports events, research ideas and other initiatives that contribute to improving the quality of knowledge generated by the Security & Rule of Law field, and its subsequent uptake. 

Date of publishing: 05-12-17

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The Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law aims to promote knowledge exchange and to identify, define and answer research questions with the aim of underpinning Dutch development policy in fragile and conflict affected settings and its implementation more adequately; thereby contributing to its effectiveness. It does so by convening an international network of the most qualified practitioners, policy-makers, academics and business, online and offline. The keywords in this endeavor are demand-oriented, problem-oriented, multidisciplinary and high-quality content grounded in practice and designed for impact.


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