AbstractsPolitical Science

WISE - A Discourse Analysis of UAV use

by Ulrik André Bøgelund

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Security Policy; Drones; Warfare; UAV; War; History; Discourse; Identity; Terrorism; Barack Obama; CIA; Intelligence; Foreign Policy; Counterterrorism; Post structualism; International Relation; Just War; Risk society; Risk theory; Anwar Al-Awlaki; John Brennan; Policy speech; Diskurs; Sikkerhedspolitik
Record ID: 1122466
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/13475


In this project, we discuss the phenomenon of UAV warfare. By conducting a discourse analysis of two speeches, one conducted by then counterterrorism advisor John Brennan and one by President Barack Obama, we investigate how UAV use is justified. We briefly discuss the historical background and contemporary public opinion in order to contextualize the discourse presented in the two speeches. The discourse analysis is structured in three analytical categories: how are representations of identity are articulated, how the speakers make claims about the future and finally the specific nature of the justifications of UAV use. Finally, we discuss how our empirical findings relate to the discussion of the changing nature of warfare, as well as we present a brief critique of a position in the current UAV debate. Our main argument in this discussion is that UAVs should be discussed within the social, discursive practice they are used, and not regarded merely as technological objects distinct from the context they exist in.