Articles | Volume 70, issue 4
Geogr. Helv., 70, 285–293, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-70-285-2015

Special issue: Power and space in the drone age

Geogr. Helv., 70, 285–293, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-70-285-2015

Standard article 08 Oct 2015

Standard article | 08 Oct 2015

Power and space in the drone age: a literature review and politico-geographical research agenda

F. Klauser and S. Pedrozo F. Klauser and S. Pedrozo
  • Institut de Géographie, Université de Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Abstract. Camera-fitted drones are now easily affordable to the public. The resulting proliferation of the aerial gaze raises a series of critical issues, ranging from the changing regimes of visibility across urban and rural space to the novel risks and dynamics of control implied by current drone developments. The paper argues that a distinct "spatial curiosity" and "power sensitivity" are required if we are to grasp and explore these issues. On this basis, and grounded in an extensive literature review, the paper outlines a politico-geographical research agenda for the investigation of the making, functioning and implications of drone systems. Such an agenda, it is claimed, could afford deepened insight into the driving forces that are behind current drone developments, would show how drones work in different institutional contexts, and could highlight how drones impact on the envisioned reality. This in turn would provide a deepened understanding of the "politics of visibility", "politics of the air" and "politics of the ground" conveyed by drones, and open up a wider conceptual reflection on the role of the aerial dimension in the projection of power across and within space.

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Short summary
The paper outlines a politico-geographical research agenda for the investigation of the making, functioning and implications of drone systems. Such an agenda, it is claimed, could afford deepened insight into the driving forces that are behind current drone developments, would show how drones work in different institutional contexts, and could highlight how drones impact on the envisioned reality.