Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Distant Intimacy: Space, drones, and just war

Williams, John

Distant Intimacy: Space, drones, and just war Thumbnail



This article argues that the use of just war theory as the principal framework for ethical assessment of the use of drones for targeted killing is hampered by the absence of a spatial dimension. Drawing on critical political geography, the article develops a concept of “distant intimacy” that explores the spatial characteristics of the relationship between drone deployers and their targets, revealing that the asymmetry of this relationship extends beyond conventional analysis to establish “dronespace” as a place where the autonomy of the target and the possibility of reciprocity are structurally precluded. This extends ethical critique of drone use beyond established concerns and establishes the importance of space and spatiality to the possibility of ethics in a way that just war theory has, to date, been unable to fully appreciate.


Williams, J. (2015). Distant Intimacy: Space, drones, and just war. Ethics & International Affairs, 29(1), 93-110.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 15, 2014
Online Publication Date Feb 23, 2015
Publication Date Mar 1, 2015
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2014
Publicly Available Date Feb 12, 2015
Journal Ethics and International Affairs
Print ISSN 0892-6794
Electronic ISSN 1747-7093
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 1
Pages 93-110


Accepted Journal Article (417 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 2014. This paper has been published in a revised form subsequent to editorial input by Cambridge University Press in 'Ethics and International Affairs' (29: 01 (2015) 93-110)

You might also like

Downloadable Citations