Refiguring the Aerial in Human Rights Activism: The Case of the Palestinian-Bedouin Village of al-Araqib


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1 Scopus citations


This article argues for the exploration of and experimentation with the potentials of civic technoscience as a way of materializing counterdominant practices in human-rights activism that may challenge conventional uses of technology and rooted understandings of expertise. It examines the Ground Truth project, which addresses the Palestinian-Bedouin struggle for indigenous rights in the Naqab desert, in the southern region of Israel/Palestine. It focuses on the use of do-it-yourself (DIY) aerial photography with balloons and kites, alongside other collaborative practices, for mapping and visualizing Bedouin political and spatial claims. Against a backdrop of increasingly technologically savvy legal-professional cultures in human-rights organizations, this article proposes that a community-based DIY approach to truth making may challenge entrenched thresholds of participation and open opportunities for creating hybrid forums in the human-rights field. Finally, it suggests that civic technoscience can offer an experimental ground for training oneself in critical ways of thinking and engaging with technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5021-5054
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Ground Truth
  • Israel/Palestine
  • activism
  • aerial photography
  • civic technoscience
  • do-it-yourself
  • geospatial technologies
  • human rights
  • kite photography
  • open hardware
  • photogrammetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication


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