Human shields and the political geography of international humanitarian law

Neve Gordon, Nicola Perugini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the dialectic among law, space and political violence, by providing a concise outline of the genealogy of a legal figure: the human shield. By describing the historical development of the human shielding article in international humanitarian law and its changing political and ethical functions, we illustrate how a legal figure is created, how its meaning is transformed over the years, and how the changes it undergoes reflect shifting power relations and the fluctuating political demands of different actors. Our assumption is that a microanalysis of human shields also uncovers some of the more general power dynamics through which international law is produced and the particular ways it regulates and, at times, even facilitates violence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on the Geographies of Power
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781785365645
ISBN (Print)9781785365638
StatePublished - 27 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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