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Abstracts of the last 4 Issues

Drone-Cinema, Data Practices, and the Narrative of IHL

This article explores how advanced military technologies and data practices
reshape and reassert a particular, Western-centric, narrative of International
Humanitarian Law (IHL). Analysing the dissemination of this narrative
through popular culture, with a focus on the 2015 British thriller Eye in the
Sky, I explore how the representation of IHL data practices reaffirms a
humanitarian narrative of IHL. As a popular culture product – and one that
is embraced by senior IHL experts and professionals – Eye in the Sky reflects
and participates in the ethical, legal, and political debates about advanced
military technologies, and presents mundane data practices as a system of
knowledge production through which IHL exercises its jurisdiction over
facts, people, time, and space. In particular, the article analyses how Eye in
the Sky’s representations of IHL’s data practices strengthen and reinforce a
particular IHL narrative, which is consistent with Western countries’ narrative
about their existing bureaucracies of killing. Based on interdisciplinary
analysis of socio-legal studies (SLS), Science and Technology Studies (STS),
and culture and media literature, this article answers the following three
questions: (i) who is given the power to speak IHL (and who is not)? (ii) to
whom is IHL speaking? and (iii) how do data practices shape IHL’s jurisdiction?
The article concludes that Eye in the Sky speaks international law
through the voices of drone-owning nations, and is directed to their mass
publics, legitimising data-centred violence. At the same time, it disguises
normative choices as inevitable, and erases African decision-makers, communities,
and perspectives.