What does it mean for human beings to exist in an era of dronified state violence? How can we understand the rise of robotic systems of power and domination? Focusing on U.S. drone warfare and its broader implications as no other book has to date, Predator Empire argues that we are witnessing a transition from a labor-intensive “American empire” to a machine-intensive “Predator Empire.”
Moving from the Vietnam War to the War on Terror and beyond, Ian G. R. Shaw reveals how changes in military strategy, domestic policing, and state surveillance have come together to enclose our planet in a robotic system of control. The rise of drones presents a series of “existential crises,” he suggests, that are reengineering not only spaces of violence but also the character of the modern state. Positioning drone warfare as part of a much longer project to watch and enclose the human species, he shows that for decades—centuries even—human existence has slowly but surely been brought within the artificial worlds of “technological civilization.” Instead of incarcerating us in prisons or colonizing territory directly, the Predator Empire locks us inside a worldwide system of electromagnetic enclosure—in which democratic ideals give way to a system of totalitarian control, a machinic “rule by Nobody.”
As accessibly written as it is theoretically ambitious, Predator Empire provides up-to-date information about U.S. drone warfare, as well as an in-depth history of the rise of drones.
Ian G. R. Shaw is lecturer in human geography at the University of Glasgow.
"A compelling account of the geopolitics of the drone as it haunts ‘policing, predation, and planet.’ Ian G. R. Shaw's book is as attentive to the historical and cultural geographies of the unmanned aerial vehicle as it is to the preemptive foreclosure of political futures."—Louise Amoore, author of The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability
"Predator Empire is an impressive and very timely text. This is a book that everybody concerned with the relationship between technology and security should take the opportunity to read."—LSE Review of Books
"Predator Empire is a provocative analysis of the outreach of technology, specifically drones, as new tools to entrench U.S. power globally."—Science
"In this timely and historically-engaged text, Shaw offers a distinct approach to the study of the drone in which the technology is apprehended as a more-than-human geopolitical actor, both the product and productive of practices of enclosure, atmospheric security, and policing. The result is a conceptually and contextually rich interrogation of the US drone programme, one yielding insights and analytic frameworks of utility beyond this focus."—Antipode
"What sets Shaw’s book apart, and one of its major contributions to the study of the drone, is its emphasis on the human condition."—Society & Space
"Predator Empire is one of the most interesting books on drones and drone warfare to date. Its broader (theoretical) claims might require further elaboration, but its value as a theoretically and empirically rigorous book on drones remains evident." —AAG Review of Books