Security, War and Technology
Paul Virilio and the Global Politics of Disappearance
By Mark Lacy
To Be Published December 15th 2013 by Routledge – 208 pages
Series: PRIO New Security Studies
This book analyses some of the key problems explored in Paul Virilio’s theorising on war and security.
Virilio is one of the most challenging and provocative critics of technology, war and globalization. While many commentators focus on the new possibilities for mobility and communication in an interconnected world, Virilio constantly reminds us of the role militarization and security play continue to play in liberal democracies and in our everyday lives. Rather than focusing on geopolitical questions, Virilio is interested in the role that technology and security play in the shaping of our bodies and how we come to see the world – what he terms the 'logistics of perception'.
Many political thinkers and social theorists are not concerned with the politics of bodies and perception. Virilio suggests the way war and the desire for security impact on how bodies and logistics of perception makes it vital area of concern for students of politics. Following in a line of thinkers that includes Heidegger, Benjamin, Merleau-Ponty, and Arendt, Virilio begins to ask disturbing questions about war, security and politics that take us into a series of problems that are rarely explored in the study of security and society: What will the militarization of urban space do to our sense of living with others? How will the proliferation of surveillance devices and cameras change global politics and the practices of international politics? How will the use of blogs and new modes of communication change our experience of war? Do video games militarize vision in liberal democracies?
Each chapter begins with an example from popular culture – from video games, on-lines graphic novels to films from around the world - that begins to introduce the specific question and proceeds to develop a critical engagement with his work. One of the key themes that emerges through the chapters is the importance of the idea of 'disappearance' – the aesthetics of disappearance or the politics of disappearance - that is developed through his work: it will be argued that the politics of disappearance explored in different ways in his work provides a disturbing and insightful introduction to the key questions in the politics of security that will shape the twenty-first century.
This book will be of much interest to students of critical security studies, political theory, sociology, political geography, cultural studies and IR in general.
1. Introduction: Paul Virilio and the Future of Security and War 2. Globalization, Surveillance and War 3. The World-City and Endo-Colonization 4. The logistics of Perception 5. The Democracy of Emotion 6. The General Accident and the Logistics of Perception 7. Conclusion