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Autonomous Weapons Systems and Changing Norms in International Relations

Bode, Ingvild, Huelss, Hendrik (2018) Autonomous Weapons Systems and Changing Norms in International Relations. Review of International Studies, 44 (3). pp. 393-413. ISSN 0260-2105. E-ISSN 1469-9044. (doi:10.1017/S0260210517000614) (KAR id:64874)


Autonomous weapons systems (AWS) are emerging as key technologies of future warfare. So far, academic debate concentrates on the legal-ethical implications of AWS but these do not capture how AWS may shape norms through defining diverging standards of appropriateness in practice. In discussing AWS, the article formulates two critiques on constructivist models of norm emergence: first, constructivist approaches privilege the deliberative over the practical emergence of norms; and second, they overemphasize fundamental norms rather than also accounting for procedural norms, which we introduce in this article. Elaborating on these critiques allows us to respond to a significant gap in research: we examine how standards of procedural appropriateness emerging in the development and usage of AWS often contradict fundamental norms and public legitimacy expectations. Normative content may therefore be shaped procedurally, challenging conventional understandings of how norms are constructed and considered as relevant in International Relations. In this, we outline the contours of a research program on the relationship of norms and AWS, arguing that AWS can have fundamental normative consequences by setting novel standards of appropriate action in international security policy.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0260210517000614
Uncontrolled keywords: autonomous weapons systems, norms, constructivism, practices
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Ingvild Bode
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2017 09:26 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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