Contemporary political theory, Vol. 12, no. 4, November 2013, p. 277-295
Bibliographie : p. 293-295. - Photocopies
In recent decades, we have witnessed the emergence of new forms of warfare, which are characterized by asymmetry, irregularity and the cybernetization of weaponry. Waged from a distance, these wars have created the impression of decorporealization and low risk, at least for one of the contending parties. In contrast, the same asymmetric conflicts have been sites in which the human body has been utilized as a novel and lethal weapon. Although much scholarly attention has been paid to suicide attackers who have become symbolic (if dystopic) figures of this new warfare, this article draws attention to their inverse figure: human shields. The human shield risks life not to destroy and terrorize others but to resist organized violence and protect others. This article explores the figure of the human shield, situating it within the context of global moral spectatorship, international humanitarian law and biopolitical warfare. Arguing that the human shield is both a symptom and the immanent critique of the present, one that exposes its multiple contradictions, this article makes a case for the importance of the figure of the human shield for contemporary politics.