Dronological Power: Remote Control Occupation and the New Epistemo-Technologies of Sovereignty

Bloomberg, Ramon. 2019. Dronological Power: Remote Control Occupation and the New Epistemo-Technologies of Sovereignty. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This doctoral thesis takes up the contemporary military drone and seeks to uncover the historical, political, and technical formations veiled by its colloquial apprehension as a remotely controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The project has been undertaken as practice-based research in fine art and as such is composed of two equally weighted elements that are mutually constitutive. The practical element takes the form of a literary novel.

Contextualised within a global military-commercial (mil-com) projection of power, the drone is understood as a producer of knowledge (dronology) and near- sovereign within conditions of generally distributed sovereignty. The drone exerts an algorithmic governmentality differentiated from political governmentality. Agency within the drone ensemble is mutable and intensive across a distributed network topology. If the sovereign state has been in a relationship of recurrent causality with the indivisible sovereign subject, by contrast, the drone is the relation of a sovereign to dividuated forms of life. I argue that the drone is a near- sovereignty that problematises biopolitical theories of power. The mode of power in which the body presupposes the force of law is insufficient for the drone, which I argue is instead a form of sovereign power for which the subject body is no longer meaningful. For the drone, the body lingers on as the hypo-ject – a corollary to the signature.

The drone is operational across multiple scales. The method of investigation therefore addresses the drone at a plurality of magnitudes. Furthermore, the thesis is framed by two structuring devices: the etymology of the term drone and the case of a 2015 signature strike in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan. The etymological account demonstrates a historical migration of ways in which the individual has been configured in relation to reason and a political framework. The 2015 signature strike serves to distinguish the current drone from its etymological precedent.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Drone, Military, Power, Biopolitics

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



30 April 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

30 May 2019 14:44

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:14



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