Unmanning: How Humans, Machines and Media Perform Drone Warfare (War Culture)

October 31, 2020
Unmanning: How Humans, Machines and Media Perform Drone Warfare (War Culture)

Unmanning studies the conditions that create unmanned platformsin the United States through a genealogy of experimental, pilotlessplanes flown between 1936 and 1992. Characteristics oftenattributed to the drone—including machine-like control, enmity andremoteness—are achieved by displacements between humans andmachines that shape a mediated theater of war.Rather than primarily treating the drone as a result of the waron terror, this book examines contemporary targeted killing througha series of failed experiments to develop unmanned flight in thetwentieth century.The human, machine and media parts of drone aircraft areorganized to make an ostensibly not human framework for war thatdisavows its political underpinnings as technological advance.These experiments are tied to histories of global control,cybernetics, racism and colonialism. Drone crashes and failurescall attention to the significance of human action in makingtechnopolitics that comes to be opposed to “man” and the paradoxesat their basis.