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Conceptualizing the Role of Good Drones in Global Governance

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Document pages: 17 pages

Abstract: This article identifies and reflects on some of the questions arising from the ways in which the global drone proliferation is migrating into aid operations in global governance. While drones have historically been associated with unmanned warfare, in recent years, there has been a public ascendancy of the "Good Drone ": mainstream media and the blogosphere are rife with reporting on new beneficial applications for drones, covering everything from peacekeeping, delivery of humanitarian relief, search and rescue, and border control to environmental protection and wildlife conservation. While the military use of drones has been the subject of significant academic scrutiny since the mid2000s, the more recent civil society, government, industry, and media interest in the use of drones for civilian and humanitarian purposes has so far received little scholarly attention. Although there are scattered discussions of the technical aspects of drone use in agriculture and the environment, and emergent bodies of work on the role of drones in peacekeeping, humanitarian aid, and border control and crime management, conceptual attention towards what it takes for a drone to "be good " is only emerging. To this end, the article explores why drones need to be framed as "good " and how drones are framed as "good " through a typology of uses in global governance. The first section lays out our theoretical approach to the Good Drone, followed by a consideration of the material attributes, capabilities and functions bestowed upon the drone. Then, our analysis proceeds to map out the abstract values and objectives that are brought into play to conceptualize the drone as "good ", in essence adding moral value to technology either considered value-neutral or immoral. In the fourth part, we show how this is done by providing a typology of Good Drones in global governance. We discuss humanitarian aid, peacekeeping and conservation and wildlife protection. The final part reflects on challenges of the "Good Drone construct ", followed by a brief conclusion that lays out pointers for a future research agenda.

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