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Intelligence Incarnate. Martial Corporeality in the Digital Age.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1/12/2004
JournalBody and Society
Number of pages25
Original languageEnglish


This article considers martial corporeality in light of the revolution in military affairs and the transformation of strategic discourse wrought by the confluence of the digital and molecular revolutions whose ontology is that of code. It deconstructs contemporary strategic desires to make the military body intelligence incarnate through mastery of code. That desire is an ancient one. The article therefore proceeds by taking military strategic discourse’s invocation of Athena seriously, and re-reads the myth of Athena in terms of a primordial war of the sign to master the undecidablity of the sign. Conflict over the sign’s un-masterable power of engendering is typically played out in sexualized terms. The will to martial corporeality as intelligence incarnate is characterized as a modern replay of this war As military embodiment pursues the intelligence incarnate offered by the information and molecular revolutions, power over life becomes allied with power over death in a complex convergence of sovereign geopolitics with a global biopolitics gone digital. Populated by martial bodies that have long been cyborgs, the digital way of war witnesses the emergence of a libidinality in thrall to Athena-the-wise as digital dominatrix.

Bibliographic note

RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Politics and International Studies