International Politics

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 712–726 | Cite as

International society’s challenge of targeted killing by drones

  • Jodok TroyEmail author
Original Article


Targeted killing by drones is a systemic driven instrumental practice that overrides societal non-instrumental practices that are essential for international society. Doing so, targeted killing by drones is not simply another form of inflicting violence by technical means to political opponents. It also inflicts the agents applying this practice, tempting them to frame it as a permissible measure to preserve international society. The reliance on drones for targeted killing is a pursuit of non-societal practices that seek individual and retributive justice and anticipatory and preventive self-defence by means of force relying on technological advantage. Eventually, this practice permits military tactics to steer political strategy, mitigating standards and practices agreed on in international society’s norms, rules of conduct, and institutions.


Drones English school International society Realism Targeted killing 



The research for this article was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) project P25198-G16. Earlier versions of this paper have been presented at the Millennium Journal Annual Conference 2013 in London and at the International Studies Association Global South Caucus Conference 2015 in Singapore. I would like to thank the journal's editor, Martin Senn, and the anonymous referees of the journal for their useful comments on earlier versions of the article.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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