From Above: War, Violence, and Verticality

From Above: War, Violence, and Verticality


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The arrival of the aerostatic balloon at the end of the nineteenth century ushered in a new perspective on the battlefield, taking over from the mount—the hill at the edge of the field of combat—and the fortified tower positioned within it. Since then there has been no perspective more culpable in war, violence and security than the aerial one. From Above explores the aerial view in new depth and clarity. It draws in vivid detail on studies of the aerial perspective today and on rich empirical investigations of the aerial view from the past. Chapters examine a range of case studies and examples, from Vietnam and the balloon prospect, camouflage, colonial policing, to today's drone wars. The contributors draw on perspectives from history, international relations, political geography and cultural studies in order to provide a truly interdisciplinary perspective on the view from above. They also consider the view from above in relation to its technologies, legalities, practices, doctrines, and visual culture.

Among the contributors are renowned international experts such as Derek Gregory, Trevor Paglen, Caren Kaplan, Klaus Dodds and Priya Satia.

The aerial view is a perspective that can no longer be ignored, one that is of growing significance for those interested in geopolitics, militarism and conflict.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199334803
Publisher: An Oxford University Press Publication
Publication date: 01/01/2014
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 10.30(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Peter Adey is Reader in Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and author of Mobility and Aerial Life.

Mark Whitehead is Reader at the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University, and author of, inter alia, State, Science and the Skies: Governmentalities of the British Atmosphere.

Alison Williams is Lecturer in Human Geography at the school of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University and the author of numerous articles on 'vertical geopolitics.'

Table of Contents

Editors and Contributors vii

List of Images ix

Introduction: Visual Culture and Verticality Peter Adey Mark Whitehead Alison J. Williams 1

Section 1 Science, Militarism and Distance

1 The Balloon Prospect: Aerostatic Observation and the Emergence of Militarised Aeromobility Caren Kaplan 19

2 Lines of Descent Derek Gregory 41

3 Aerial Surveying, Geopolitical Competition and the Falkland Islands and Dependencies Aerial Survey Expedition (FIDASE 1955-7) Klaus Dodds 71

4 Networks, Nodes and De-Territorialised Battlespace: The Scopic Regime of Rapid Dominance Martin Coward 95

5 Photomosaics: Mapping the Front, Mapping the City Paul K. Saint-Amour 119

Section 2 Aerial Aesthetics, Distortion and the View from Below

6 'Concealing the Crude': Airmindedness and the Camouflaging of Britain's Oil Installations, 1936-9 James Robinson 145

7 Flying into the Unknown: Cinematic Cultures of War and the Aesthetics of Disappearance John Armitage 163

8 Project Transparent Earth and the Autoscopy of Aerial Targeting: The Visual Geopolitics of the Underground Ryan Bishop 185

9 AFP-731 or The Other Night Sky: An Allegory Trevor Paglen 203

Section 3 From Close to Remote

10 The Pain of Love: The Invention of Aerial Surveillance in British Iraq Priya Satia 223

11 Targeting Affective Life From Above: Morale and Airpower Ben Anderson 247

12 Ecologies of the Wayward Drone Jordan Crandall 263

13 Satellite Images, Security and the Geopolitical Imagination David Campbell 289

Notes 299

Index 363

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