Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Fall 12-12-2014

Major Department or Program

Rhetoric Studies


Heather Hayes


Drawing heavily from the theories of Kenneth Burke, G. Thomas Goodnight, and Giorgio Agamben, this paper contends that the disposition matrix as an apparatus of targeted killing policy has transformed how sovereign power is exercised by the US government. I examine the matrix as a case study of how the state of exception is made manifest, arguing that important rhetorical choices are made in how targets are presented by the matrix. These choices serve to perpetuate the necessity of the matrix, transferring sovereign power out of the hands of humans and into the matrix.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Political science -- Disposition Matrix, Drone aircraft -- Government policy -- United States, Sovereignty -- Political aspects, Targeted killing - Government policy -- United States, Eric H. Holder (1951- ), Giorgio Agamben (1942- ) -- Stato de eccezione -- State of exception, Kenneth Burke (1897-1993) -- Political and social views, G. Thomas Goodnight, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2015 -- Rhetoric Studies

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Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis

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