Solving the problem of war - imaginaries of post-human perfectibility in the Third Offset

Tom Hobson

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


War is a generative force like no other. Understood as an inherently political, as well as technological phenomenon, wars are where particular visions of the world are violently (re)made and perceived desirable futures are sought. In this paper, I argue that scholars of war and security have paid remarkably little attention to either the constitution or substantive impact these images of desirable worlds on the means and meanings of contemporary warfighting.I endeavour to explore one particular aspect of this gap – arguing that the study of 21st Century warfare would be greatly enriched through a sustained engagement with the constitutive role of imaginaries on the development of particular modes of war. Focusing on the Third Offset Strategy, and particularly the fields of human augmentation and human integration into machine systems, I explore the sociotechnical imaginaries (Jasanoff & Kim, 2015) that underpin the US military’s attempts to reconcile the competing objectives of liberal warfighting. I argue that, through imaginaries of post-human perfectibility, the US seeks to achieve a war that is infallibly ethical, precise and lethal - allowing it to secure a vision of the world as it imagines it both is and ought to be.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020
EventISA 2019 - Toronto
Duration: 27 Mar 201931 Mar 2020


ConferenceISA 2019
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