Accepted Paper:

Towards a feminist reading of the activist drone  

Author:

Marcela Suarez (Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

This article argues that a feminist reading of the activist drone is necessary to make visible the human and non-human agencies, the power relations that are mobilized, and the configuration of counter-realities.

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyzes the role of a specific technology, namely unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, in shaping public political participation and representation in social collectives. Drones are pilotless aircrafts operated by remote control or programmed autonomously by computers on the ground that carry a video camera. Although drones are mostly known for their military and commercial uses, however their civil and even political innovations are on the rise. In recent years, drones have promoted new forms of digital counter-culture, political action and representation. This paper seeks to analyze from a feminist perspective the specific practices of collective actors who, by means of drones, are mobilizing knowledge and public opinion, raising awareness, negotiating, partnering up, and contesting state and multinational companies. Drawing on digital politics and feminist technoscience literature, the paper will contribute to the dynamics of new media technologies literature and the politics of emerging collective orders. The methodological approach will be to conduct a digital ethnography in the social collective "Rexiste" in Mexico. Rexiste stages public interventions with the help of its so-called little sister 'Droncita' (which means a small female drone in Spanish). They use drone photos and videos to increase global awareness about the disappearance of persons, human rights violations, and criminalization of civilian protests.

Panel T100
Feminist Technoscience Studies in Unexpected Places: (Intra)Activism and Social Justice