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Title: Dancing to a Tune: The Drone as Political and Historical Assemblage
Authors: Bloomberg
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: Culture Machine, 2015, 16 (Drone Culture)
Abstract: A newspaper headline demands our attention: ‘Suspected US drone strikes kill at least 13 in Pakistan, Afghanistan’ (Fox News, 2014). Perhaps at first glance, the headline appears unremarkable, just another tragic consequence of a mode of remote warfare that has now been waged for more than a decade. But what precisely is the term ‘drone’ supposed to indicate in this phrase? What is it about a drone strike that makes it different to, say, an ‘F-16-strike’, or the more familiar ‘air-strike’? How might we identify the particular quality of the drone, and where might it be found? We might begin by looking to the drone’s ‘unmannedness’ or by considering what is implied by its acephalia. Yet if ‘drone’ were simply a stand in for automated, or unmanned, it might be enough to counter that an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is usually no more automated than a Boeing 747, or that for every MQ9 Reaper combat air patrol there are roughly 200 human beings attending to, guiding, and maintaining the vehicle, including those men and women who manipulate the aircraft’s controls.1 Indeed, the pilot sitting in a cockpit is never directly turning the rudder; remote, then, is a matter of degree.
ISSN: 1465-4121
Appears in Collections:Dept of Arts and Humanities Research Papers

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