Articles | Volume 71, issue 1
15 Jan 2016
Intervention |  | 15 Jan 2016

Rhetorics of possibility and inevitability in commercial drone tradescapes

A. H. Jackman

Abstract. Drones have been posited as the "signature device of the present moment" (Noys, 2014). Whilst research into the proliferation of drones in military and defence spheres is gaining notable momentum, drones in commercial and "civilian" contexts "have remained widely unnoticed in academic research" (Klauser and Pedrozo, 2015:285). Complementing emergent scholarship in this area, this paper seeks to both explore and assert the trade show as a valuable site of (industry and advocacy) community "copresence" (McCann, 2011). Drawing upon empirical data, this paper unpacks the rhetorical framing of the commercial drone in the trade-show environment. In so doing, it explores two dominant rhetorical framings, or "techniques of imagination" (Kinsley, 2012:1559), of the commercial drone: those of possibility and inevitability. Such an analysis seeks to respond to calls advocating further attention to the "making of the drone", prior to its "functioning" (Klauser and Pedrozo, 2015) and end-point applications.

Short summary
This paper explores the commercial or civilian drone. In so doing, it focuses on the way in which the drone is rhetorically framed at trade shows. Drawing upon fieldwork experience at a number of industry and advocacy "expo" gatherings, the paper critically unpacks two dominant framings of the drone, namely those of possibility and inevitability. This paper thus responds to calls for further exploration of the non-military drone and to aspects of its "life course" prior to its "functioning".