Digital War

Digital War : A Critical Introduction

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This book is designed as an introductory, critical textbook exploring the range of uses of digital technology in warfare and conflict from 1991 to the present
The book offers a broad overview of many aspects of contemporary digital war - from the media coverage of the Gulf, Kosovo, Afghan and Iraq wars, the development of network-centric warfare, Wikileaks, drone warfare, the internet and surveillance, the use of social media, simulation technology, killer robots, cyberwar and the augmentation and networking of the soldier. Each topic can be read separately and incudes a summary and discussion of the key elements and debates but three major themes are also developed through the book.
The first major theme of the book is the failure of mainstream journalism and the continuing problems it faces today. Traditional journalism proved unwilling to question the political justifications for many contemporary wars, failed to reflect the scale of opposition to the Iraq War and failed to report objectively once these wars began. Moreover in the period since 2003 we have seen the rise of modes of war that are not conducive to traditional journalism: the insurgencies and (externally-supported) `civil wars' in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria proved too dangerous for western journalists; the shadowy drone campaigns have been conducted beyond the eyes of western journalists in some of the most remote regions of the world; and online cyber espionage, attacks and warfare all take place in a sphere that is beyond the investigative reach or understanding of most war reporters.
The second theme is the way in which others have been able to produce and share information about conflicts today, creating new modes of knowledge and evidence. After an era in which journalists were embedded with and lived alongside soldiers, now soldiers themselves are embedded-journalists recording their own experiences, accomplishments and feelings. Even official military information is now shareable thanks to whistleblowers, whilst terrorists and militia all manage their own Twitter feeds and video-releases. Social media have thus become a key propaganda battlefield and no military or organization can be without an online presence, responding in real-time to developments. The new `architectures of participation' offered by Web 2.0 platforms and connected devices enable a range of groups, organizations and individuals to have their say and participate in conflicts. This participation even extends to actually creating or joining in propaganda and cyber-attacks.

The third theme is the military use of digital technologies to change the nature and forms of participation in conflict. New technologies allowing telepresent action at a distance such as drones, new modes of participative interaction such as networked and augmented infantrymen, or the possibility of attacks without any presence such as cyberwar or evolved autonomous robots all point towards different modes of military experience. Just as the ecology of those producing, sharing and commenting on information about conflicts has become more complex, so too has the ecology of military actors and modes of action. Only by considering all of these military and non-military actors together can we understand the new media ecology of war today.
This book will be of much interest to students of war and media, security studies, political communicatio, new media, diplomacy and IR in general.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 171 x 248mm
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1138899860
  • 9781138899865

About William Merrin

William Merrin is Associate Professor in Media Studies at Swansea University, with a specialism in media theory, media history and digital media. He is the author of Baudrillard and the Media (2005), co-editor of Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories (Routledge, 2009), author of Media Studies 2.0 (Routledge, 2014) and co-author of Media Ecology/Archaeology (with Andrew Hoskins, Routledge, 2015).
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Table of contents

1. The Age of Warcasting 2. Networked Warfare 3. Transparent War 4. Game of Drones 5. `Mastering the Internet' 6. Epic Fail 7. Participative War 8. Video Games and Military Simulations 9. The Rise of Killer Robots 10. Cyberwar and Citizen Militarism 11. The Networked and Augmented soldier 12. Conclusion: the Digital Ecology of War
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