The Transformation of Targeted Killing and International Order

Contemporary Security Policy, 38:2 (2017), 175-211

38 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2017 Last revised: 21 Aug 2017

See all articles by Martin Senn

Martin Senn


Jodok Troy

University of Innsbruck; Stanford University

Date Written: June 10, 2017


This article introduces the special issue’s question of whether and how the current transformation of targeted killing is transforming the global international order and provides the conceptual ground for the individual contributions to the special issue. It develops a two-dimensional concept of political order and introduces a theoretical framework that conceives the maintenance and transformation of international order as a dynamic interplay between its behavioral dimension in the form of violence and discursive processes and its institutional dimension in the form of ideas, norms, and rules. The article also conceptualizes targeted killing and introduces a typology of targeted-killing acts on the basis of their legal and moral legitimacy. Building on this conceptual groundwork, the article takes stock of the current transformation of targeted killing and summarizes the individual contributions to this special issue.

Keywords: Targeted killing; assassination; drones; international order; international law; ethics; legitimacy

Suggested Citation

Senn, Martin and Troy, Jodok, The Transformation of Targeted Killing and International Order (June 10, 2017). Contemporary Security Policy, 38:2 (2017), 175-211. Available at SSRN:

Martin Senn


No Address Available
United States

Jodok Troy (Contact Author)

University of Innsbruck ( email )

Universitätsstraße 15
Innsbruck, Innsbruck 6020
+43(0)512.507.2849 (Fax)


Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States


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