Placing lethal autonomous weapons on the national agenda: A case study into the campaign to stop killer robots

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In 2012, different NGOs have initiated the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. The campaign is concerned about the ethical consequences of the development of lethal autonomous weapons. The aim of the research is to explain why, how and under which conditions the members of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots are able to place the issue of lethal autonomous weapons on the national agenda. For this thesis, the theory of Joachim (2007) is applied to the case of Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. According to Joachim, NGOs are able to mobilize state support for an issue by framing it in a strategic way. Whether the frames will become accepted is dependent on the political opportunity structure and the mobilizing structures. The study shows that NGOs were able to identify the problem by framing lautonomous weapons as a humanitarian issue. By raising feelings of fears, referring to public support and reputational concerns, the NGOs mobilized support for an international treaty and a national moratorium on autonomous weapons. Scientists have played an important role as allies and entrepreneurs, as they enhanced the credibility of the frames. Furthermore, the embeddedness of the campaign in a long history of disarmament activism has been crucial.
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