Kroc at a Distance: A Conversation With Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick About His New Book, The Good Drone

Kroc at a Distance: A Conversation With Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick About His New Book, The Good Drone

Date and Time

  • Wednesday, July 29, 2020 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Facebook Live:

5998 Alcala Park San Diego, CA 92110




The Kroc at a Distance virtual event series continues on Thursday, July 29th at 6:00pm PT, as Warwick's hosts Kroc School Professor Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick for a lively discussion about his new book, The Good Drone: How Social Movements Democratize Surveillance. This free virtual event will be held on Facebook Live.

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, PhD, is a professor at the Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego. He is the author of What Slaveholders Think (Columbia UP 2017), co-author of Drones for Good (with USD Professor Gordon Hoople, Morgan & Claypool 2019), and co-editor of From Human Trafficking to Human Rights (with Alison Brysk, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). His work focuses on politics, culture, technology and social change broadly and in a new book he focuses on how social movements use technology. Choi-Fitzpatrick is a concurrent associate professor of social movements and human rights at the University of Nottingham’s School of Sociology and Social Policy.

About Professor Choi-Fitzpatrick's Book, The Good Drone
Drones are famous for doing bad things: weaponized, they implement remote-control war; used for surveillance, they threaten civil liberties and violate privacy. In The Good Drone, Choi-Fitzpatrick examines a different range of uses: the deployment of drones for the greater good. Choi-Fitzpatrick analyzes the way small-scale drones—as well as satellites, kites, and balloons—are used for a great many things, including documenting human rights abuses, estimating demonstration crowd size, supporting anti-poaching advocacy, and advancing climate change research. In fact, he finds, small drones are used disproportionately for good; nonviolent prosocial uses predominate.

Choi-Fitzpatrick's broader point is that the use of technology by social movements goes beyond social media—and began before social media. From the barricades in Les Misérables to hacking attacks on corporate servers to the spread of #MeToo on Twitter, technology is used to raise awareness, but is also crucial in raising the cost of the status quo.

New technology in the air changes politics on the ground, and raises provocative questions along the way. What is the nature and future of the camera, when it is taken out of human hands? How will our ideas about privacy evolve when the altitude of a penthouse suite no longer guarantees it? Working at the leading edge of an emerging technology, Choi-Fitzpatrick takes a broad view, suggesting social change efforts rely on technology in new and unexpected ways.

Join us for the conversation on Facebook Live on Thursday, July 29th at 6:00pm PT.

begin quoteI wrote this book out of fascination and frustration. Fascination with a range of new technologies like drones and satellites, and frustration with how much of the potential was overlooked by folks studying politics.

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Justin Prugh
(619) 260-7573

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies


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