Non-Lethal Weapons as Legitimizing Forces? Technology, Politics, and the Management of Conflict

By Brian Rappert | Go to book overview

9

Gauging Electroshock Weapons

In the example of CS sprays considered in the last chapter, as well as in previous chapters, major government and non-governmental evaluations have been central pieces of evidence. Such evaluations, both in relation to one another and even within themselves, often provide alternative ways of making sense of technology and human agency in use-of-force situations. While it is apparent that evaluation studies can be drawn on as resources to selectively support positive or negative appraisals of technology, such an approach is arguably limited in furthering an understanding of the dynamics of disputes over legitimacy. As has been suggested throughout this book, in analyses of the non-lethal weapons (including the present analysis), pressing questions need to be asked about how, when and why particular descriptions are offered and what makes for a convincing line of argument. In Chapter 7, I suggested that the focus on the intent of users of CS sprays was a contingent outcome of the way debates were managed.

This chapter continues to examine questions about the legitimacy of non-lethal weapons and the function of key evaluations. It does so by considering the claims and counterclaims made about a class of non-lethals and a major trial of them. The class of weapon is electroshock and the trial is the introduction, in the mid-1990s, of stun guns and pepper sprays to all detention officers in Maricopa County, Arizona jails. 1

This chapter provides something of an evaluation of the various evaluations made of the trial; 'something' in the sense that it is not the intent to adjudicate about what really happened in Maricopa County, as if this could simply be determined by a thorough reading of various evaluations. Rather, the purpose here is to examine this case with a view to asking what it suggests for the analysis of non-lethals, claims for the basis of their legitimacy and the evidential basis for claims. A telling of the various stories given about what happened in Maricopa County raises significant questions about what went wrong and how to ensure this does not happen again in the future.

-202-

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Non-Lethal Weapons as Legitimizing Forces? Technology, Politics, and the Management of Conflict
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Abbreviations xiv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Part I: - Claims and Expectations 15
  • 2 - What's in a Name? 17
  • 3 - Tools of the Trade 35
  • 4 - Threats and Promises 62
  • Part Ii: - Technologies, Contexts and Controls 89
  • 5 - Weapons of Minimal Harm?: Assessing Effects 91
  • 6 - On to the Streets: Examining Major Deployments of Non-Lethals 122
  • 7 - Controlling Evaluations: the Prospects for Prohibitions 148
  • Part Iii: - Case Studies 173
  • 8 - Cs Sprays in Britain 175
  • 9 - Gauging Electroshock Weapons 202
  • 10 - Humanitarian Interventions, Humanitarian Tools? 228
  • 11 - Conclusions and Recommendations 251
  • Select Bibliography 277
  • Index 281
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