Sensing the Ground: On the Global Politics of Satellite-based Activism

Delf Rothe, David Shim

    OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

    6 Citaten (Scopus)
    15 Downloads (Pure)


    In recent years satellite imagery, previously restricted to the defense and intelligence communities, has been made available to a range of non-state actors as well. Non-governmental organizations, journalists, and celebrities like George Clooney now use remote sensing data like digital Sherlock Holmeses to investigate and reveal human rights abuses, political violence, environmental destruction, and eco-crimes from a distance. It is often said that the increasing availability and applicability of remote sensing technologies has contributed to the rise of what can be called ‘satellite-based activism’ empowering non-state groups to challenge state practices of seeing and showing. In this article we argue that NGO activism is not challenging the sovereign gaze of the state but, on the contrary, actually reinforcing it. We will bolster our arguments in this regard in two prominent fields of nongovernmental remote sensing: human rights and environmental governance.
    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)414-437
    Aantal pagina's24
    TijdschriftReview of International Studies
    Nummer van het tijdschrift3
    Vroegere onlinedatum24-jan-2018
    StatusPublished - jul-2018

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