The urbanization of drone warfare: policing surplus populations in the dronepolis

Shaw, I. G.R. (2016) The urbanization of drone warfare: policing surplus populations in the dronepolis. Geographica Helvetica, 71(1), pp. 19-28. (doi: 10.5194/gh-71-19-2016)

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This paper explores the urbanization of drone warfare and the securitization of the “surplus population”. Defined as a bloc of humanity rendered as structurally unnecessary to a capital-intensive economy, the surplus population is an emerging target for the post-welfare security state. If we now live in an age of a permanent conflict with uncertain geographies, then it is at least partly fueled by this endemic crisis at the heart of the capitalist world system. Of key significance is the contradictory nature of the surplus population. The “security threat” generated by replacing masses of workers with nonhumans is increasingly managed by policing humans with robots, drones, and other apparatuses. In other words, the surplus population is both the outcome and target of contemporary capitalist technics. The emerging “dronification of state violence” across a post-9∕11 battlespace has seen police drones deployed to the urban spaces of cities in Europe and North America. The drone, with its ability to swarm in the streets of densely packed urban environments, crystallizes a more intimate and invasive form of state power. The project of an atmospheric, dronified form of policing not only embodies the technologization of state security but also entrenches the logic of a permanent, urbanized manhunt. The paper concludes by discussing the rise of the dronepolis: the city of the drone.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shaw, Dr Ian
Authors: Shaw, I. G.R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Geographica Helvetica
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
ISSN (Online):2194-8798
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Geographica Helvetica 71(1):19-28
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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