Recent scholarship in critical security studies argues that matter matters because it is not an inert backdrop to social life but lively, affectively laden, active in the constitution of subjects, and capable of enabling and constraining security practices and processes. This article seeks to further the debate about materiality and security. Its main claim is that materials-oriented approaches to security typically focus on the place of materials and objects within technologies and assemblages of governance. Less often do they ask how materials and objects become entangled in political controversies, and how objects mediate issues of public concern. To bring publics and contentious politics more fully into the debate about the matter of security, the article engages with Latour's work on politics, publics and things - or dingpolitik. It then connects the theme of dingpolitik to a particular controversy: Human Rights Watch's investigation of Gaza civilians allegedly killed by Israeli drone-launched missiles in 2008-2009. Drawing three lessons from this case, the article explores how further conversation between dingpolitik and security studies can be mutually beneficial for both literatures.

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Security Dialogue
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Walters, W. (2014). Drone strikes, dingpolitik and beyond: Furthering the debate on materiality and security. Security Dialogue, 45(2), 101–118. doi:10.1177/0967010613519162