Navigating Canadian Drone Space: A Sociological Analysis of the Stakeholders, Narratives, and Policy Shaping Canadian Unmanned Systems
In this dissertation, I undertake an in-depth examination of the stakeholder networks and narratives that are driving and shaping drone technologies and corresponding policy within Canada. It examines how and why some stakeholder groups have been excluded from various regulatory processes for drones, and how the inclusion and exclusion of certain groups in regulatory processes impacts the deployment of these technologies, and thus impacts on privacy and civil liberties. The adoption and use of drone technologies represents and perpetuates a politics of verticality that allows particular stakeholder groups to control Canada’s sociotechnical space through policy, and this contributes to a privileged vertical gaze where only particular groups and technologies can operate drones. This dissertation theorizes Canadian drone space as being shaped by the logics of dominant stakeholder groups, and addresses the ways in which civil liberties and privacy implications as well as surveillance-sensitive aspects of drones are not adequately addressed because of who is excluded from these spaces. This dissertation argues how the seemingly benign relationships between particular stakeholder groups in Canadian drone space are the product of a ‘revolving door’ in the surveillance-industrial complex. The relationships that have developed around drones between certain stakeholder groups (primarily government, industry, and military) show how other stakeholder groups (such as civil liberties advocates, lawyers, and privacy experts) have long been excluded from the development of drone regulation processes in Canada. I put these politics of exclusion into dialogue with Andrew Barry’s theory of technological zones and Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory. These theories help to explain how the field of power within which stakeholders operate contributes to them a) only associating with specific stakeholder groups, b) upholding particular logics and predispositions about drone technologies, and c) perpetuating discourses and narratives about the technological zone of drones that impacts the technologies themselves, the regulation of drones, and Canada’s sociotechnical space more broadly. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with stakeholders as well as extensive analyses of primary documents obtained through Access to Information and Privacy requests, these data are parsed through thematically to demonstrate the contrasting positions of stakeholder groups in the regulatory process, in assessing risk and the market, and in media portrayals of drone technologies.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/23840
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