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Accepted Paper:

Flying drones and the flow of images: A gendered 'issue of concern'  
Karen Waltorp (University of Copenhagen) Maja Hojer Bruun (Aarhus University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the socio-technical assemblage of flying drones in an infrastructure of hyper-visuality, omnipresent cameras, and a lack of control over who gets access to the flow of images. This ties into and reframes well-known notions of proxemics, privacy, female nudity and the male gaze.

Paper long abstract:

The context for our discussion is one where drones with cameras are airborne digital information technologies, making up part of larger socio-technical systems. Science and technology (including information technology) are fundamental parts of the political and social worlds we inhabit and of our intimate sense of ourselves. Increasingly, the emerging technologies of (perceived) autonomous material/physical objects in the 'space of humans' are moving in close proximity to our physical bodies - such as self-driving cars and drones. This poses new questions about the social and political worlds we inhabit - and not least about our intimate sense of ourselves and our bodies.

In this paper, we address this through the question of how drones in the Danish air space evoke reactions by people experiencing and interacting with the drones. The gendered aspects of a set of concerns related to the presence of drones, emerged in a research project on the public's privacy concerns regarding drones, commissioned by the Danish Transport Authorities. The material is generated through focus group debates and 'experiments' with drone overflights. The reactions are gendered due in part, our research shows, to the knowledge that a drone with a camera attached hovering outside your window or in the backyard, affords the spread of images across the world wide web in a split second. In this paper we explore how the socio-technical assemblage of drones, cameras, human bodies and the Internet tie into and reframe well-known notions of proxemics, privacy, female nudity/modesty and the male gaze.

Panel P040
Anthropology and emerging technologies [FAN panel]
  Session 1 Tuesday 14 August, 2018, -