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Surveillance and Society
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.997
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 7  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1477-7487 - ISSN (Online) 1477-7487
Published by Surveillance and Society Homepage  [1 journal]
  • Gods, Informers, and the Erotics of Surveillance: The Critique of
           Surveillance in King Lear

    • Authors: Benjamin Miele
      Pages: 1 - 15
      Abstract: Ideologically, surveillance in early modern England was justified through claims that Providence guided the state counter-espionage apparatus, especially when preventing assassinations of Protestant English monarchs. King Lear critiques such idealized surveilling by conflating it with another, more quotidian and odious surveillance assemblage, the qui-tam system of surveillance-for-profit. This was the most notable, or notorious, feature of surveillance in Shakespeare’s England, and was perceived as having a corrupting influence on politics, economics, and the legal system, its abusive nature in Lear being conceptualized as sexually perverse. The play also stages the intersection of qui-tam surveillance-for-profit with religiously justified forms of surveilling, calling into question the validity of such rationalizations and linking the eroticized, abusive informing with more socially accepted modes of surveilling, including the benevolent oversight of divine justice. This article contributes to surveillance studies by arguing that the erotics of surveillance informs discussions of the relationship between surveillance and capital, of epistemologies and ideologies of surveillance, and of surveillance art, while suggesting that King Lear can enrich our understanding of the complexities of surveilling.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.15118
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Colonial Numbers: Quantification, Indigeneity, and the Politics of Fiscal

    • Authors: Kyle Willmott
      Pages: 16 - 28
      Abstract: This paper considers how processes of quantification are implicated in settler colonial political imperatives. I examine how colonial numbers operate as forms of governmentality that obfuscate, depoliticize, commensurate, fiscalize, promote transparency and visibility, and ultimately reduce the density of Indigenous Nations. The paper specifically focusses on how fiscal surveillance flows from colonial numbers to make Indigenous life legible to the state, markets, and settlers. The paper concludes by complicating the relationship between colonialism, numbers, governance, and ignorance.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.14609
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Power, Stress, and Uncertainty: Experiences with and Attitudes toward
           Workplace Surveillance During a Pandemic

    • Authors: Jessica Vitak, Michael Zimmer
      Pages: 29 - 44
      Abstract: There is a rich literature on technology’s role in facilitating employee monitoring in the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic created many challenges for employers, and many companies turned to new forms of monitoring to ensure remote workers remained productive; however, these technologies raise important privacy concerns as the boundaries between work and home are further blurred. In this paper, we present findings from a study of 645 US workers who spent at least part of 2020 working remotely due to the pandemic. We explore how their work experiences (job satisfaction, stress, and security) changed between January and November 2020, as well as their attitudes toward and concerns about being monitored. Findings support anecdotal evidence that the pandemic has had an uneven effect on workers, with women reporting more negative effects on their work experiences. In addition, while nearly 40% of workers reported their employer began using new surveillance tools during the pandemic, a significant percentage were unsure, suggesting there is confusion or a lack of transparency regarding how new policies are communicated to staff. We consider these findings in light of prior research and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of various approaches to minimize surveillance-related worker harms.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.15571
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • “It’s About Safety Not Snooping”: Parental Attitudes to Child
           Tracking Technologies and Geolocation Data

    • Authors: Jane Mavoa, Simon Coghlan, Bjørn Nansen
      Pages: 45 - 60
      Abstract: Families are increasingly using new apps and devices that provide detailed information about the location and activities of children and other family members. While typically performed for benevolent reasons such as maintaining child safety, tracking technologies like Life360 and Find My iPhone raise concerns about snooping and surveillance. This paper examines parental behaviours and attitudes towards this controversial practice via an online survey that collected 112 responses from parents of children aged 5–18. A significant number of parents reported using tracking tools. Parents’ views about the practice were sometimes ambivalent and in disagreement. Perspectives variously included: defending geo-tracking as conducive to child wellbeing and family management and logistics, contesting the language of surveillance used to describe it, and opposing the use of these technologies as antithetical to child independence and choice. After exploring such themes, the paper identifies and critically discusses the socio-ethical issues of changing family norms associated with powerful child monitoring technology, child autonomy and consent, and the normalisation of geo-tracking and surveillance. The discussion employs Helen Nissenbaum’s (2009) concept of contextual integrity to evaluate family and child privacy and to illuminate the socio-ethical complexity of this evolving technological practice.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.15719
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Making Smart Things Strange Again: Using Walking as a Method for Studying
           Subjective Experiences of Smart City Surveillance

    • Authors: Vivien Butot, Gabriele Jacobs, Petra Saskia Bayerl, Josué Amador, Pendar Nabipour
      Pages: 61 - 82
      Abstract: Smart cities are commonly seen as places that are defined by surveillance because of their reliance on vast amounts of digital data to improve urban management challenges. Although the infrastructures and technologies that enable smart city surveillance pervade multitudinous urban spaces and everyday practices, they are often “hiding in plain sight,” going unnoticed in the bustle of everyday life. Hence, fostering research settings where citizens can productively reflect on their everyday surveillance constitutes a major challenge for the interrelated projects of doing empirical research about subjective experiences of smart city surveillance and the inclusion of citizens in smart city discussions. Drawing on walking as a method, this study attempts to meet this challenge by developing and empirically testing a methodology of purposive “data walking.” Situating the research in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, participants are instructed to identify data points for public safety purposes on a short walk through the city and reflect on their experiences. Observations and experiences of smart city surveillance are documented with photos, text descriptions, and audio notes, which are shared in real-time with researchers and provide the basis for group reflections. These walks and reflections generate rich visual and textual data that yield insights into embodied and situated constructions of smart city surveillance as an object of subjective inquiry, experiences of visibility, considerations of agency and evaluations of public safety implications. The study considers these empirical results in conjunction with reflections on the methodology, contributing to further methodological explorations for including citizens in smart city discussions and surveillance subjectivity research.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.15665
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Introduction: Surveillance in Conflict and Crisis

    • Authors: Keith Spiller, Bryce Clayton Newell
      Pages: 83 - 90
      Abstract: This Dialogue sought contributions from surveillance studies scholars that examine how surveillance is part of, or has grown out of, contemporary conflicts around the world. The ongoing war in Ukraine stimulated the initial idea for the section, but we also remained mindful of the wider global scope of conflicts around the world, the history of such conflict, and the ways in which surveillance has become integral to many forms of domestic and international conflict. We wanted to extend the engagement of surveillance studies research with issues of surveillance and its relationship to conflict and to push debate and conversation about the practices, technologies, and ethics of how surveillance has been situated in moments and longer periods of conflict. We have four distinct contributions as part of this specific Dialogue, and they draw upon issues of privilege, longevity, control, organizational power, and discrimination that are placed within case studies from conflicts in Columbia, Palestine, and Ukraine.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.16283
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Returning the Gaze of Surveillance: The Murder of Shireen Abu Aqleh

    • Authors: Daniela Jorge Ayoub
      Pages: 91 - 95
      Abstract: The murder of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh in Jenin refugee camp in May 2022 has generated extensive debate about how she was killed. Israeli authorities claimed that Abu Aqleh was killed by Palestinian gunfire, circulating a video captured by Palestinian fighters from the morning of Abu Aqleh’s death that showed the use of arms within the camp. Yet independent investigations have shown that this video—captured and circulated by Palestinians to document resistance activities—was used, in conjunction with other evidence, to disprove Israeli authorities’ claim. In this paper, I examine the role of the datafication of everyday life, the authority of interpretation, and the importance of counter-data production as a disruptive tactic in the aftermath of Abu Aqleh’s murder. In contemporary conflicts, we can observe how data extracted from our enabling of becoming increasingly archivable subjects are framed and articulated as objective, even neutral, material evidence. In conjunction with the spectacle of political rhetoric and military theatrics, an asymmetric interpretation and subsequent instrumentalization of digital archives obstruct the inclusion of those subjected to harm as interpreters of their own experiences, shaping public perceptions and further exposing oppressed populations to continued violence. To challenge the material effects of these narratives, counter-data are produced to invert and disrupt a largely unilateral authoritative gaze. These interventions not only push against and reappropriate the generation and collection of data but also challenge the authority to access and interpret it. Grounded in critical security studies, post-colonial studies, as well as other critical bodies of work, this paper uses the case of Abu Aqleh’s murder to demonstrate how the surveillance and selective framing of data are used to distort conflict and structure warfare.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.16269
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Aidwashing Surveillance: Critiquing the Corporate Exploitation of
           Humanitarian Crises

    • Authors: Aaron Martin
      Pages: 96 - 102
      Abstract: Private sector actors have long been involved in surveillance. This extends to surveillance undertaken in crisis contexts and conflict situations, where humanitarian needs commonly arise. Prior research has problematized the surveillance-industrial complex’s involvement in aid initiatives and humanitarian interventions, but new dynamics are creating novel dilemmas. This contribution to a dialogue on surveillance in contemporary conflict discusses how surveillance firms are exploiting humanitarian crises as a means to aidwash their technologies and services. In this context, aidwashing practices involve the use of corporate social responsibility initiatives and forms of public-private partnership with aid actors to burnish surveillance firms’ reputations and distract the public from corporate misbehavior, ethical misdeeds, and dubious data practices. In this piece, I draw on two recent cases—a partnership to develop advanced data analytics for the optimization of humanitarian food assistance and the donation of facial recognition services in an ongoing armed conflict—to interrogate the surveillance industry’s public relations activities in humanitarian emergencies and conflict situations and reflect on the inner workings of—and resistance to—aidwashing.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.16266
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Beyond Battlefields and Conventional Research Agendas: The Importance of
           Understanding Surveillance Activities and Practices During Long-Term Armed

    • Authors: Camilo Tamayo Gomez
      Pages: 103 - 107
      Abstract: As the character of war has changed, surveillance studies scholars need to rethink and reimagine the meaning of surveillance activities and practices during long-term armed conflicts. Never-ending wars in Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Ethiopia, Colombia, Lebanon, and Somalia are showing us that one characteristic of contemporary conflicts is the increasing duration of violent and non-violent confrontation. Under these current long wars, numerous armed groups—including national armies—gain more from violence itself than from winning, expanding the expected length of the conflict. This is creating new sociocultural conditions for the development of surveillance activities and practices, where battles between armed groups are rather rare and most violence is directed against civilians. I argue that there is an urgent need for the surveillance studies field to create novel theoretical and methodological tools to comprehend surveillance activities and practices during long-term armed conflicts. I believe it is crucial to establish a more fluid dialogue with other disciplines, in particular, epistemologies related to the sociology of emotions, the demography of armed conflicts, and the militarization of civilians in contexts of war. This emerging research agenda will help us to fully comprehend the meaning of surveillance where the surveillance agent and the surveillance subject interact for extended periods of time (years or even decades) under new forms of social interaction. In this contribution to the Dialogue section, I present three dimensions of this emerging research agenda. I will be highlighting key theoretical relations and their relevance and addressing the former Colombian armed conflict to illustrate some of their characteristics.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.16250
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Civilian Surveillance in the War in Ukraine: Mobilizing the Agency of the
           Observers of War

    • Authors: Simon Hogue
      Pages: 108 - 112
      Abstract: The war in Ukraine sees local and foreign civilians play active roles in the conflict, mainly through the participatory gathering and sharing of intelligence and open-source investigations of alleged human rights violations and war crimes. These surveillance practices seen in the war in Ukraine are not novel. Vigilantism campaigns have normalized since the War on Terror, while open-source information is increasingly recognized as a legitimate tool for human rights and international criminal justice investigation. Yet, their importance in the war in Ukraine highlights the agentic power of civilian surveillance. The proliferation of digital technologies empowers civilians to become inevitable actors in all spheres of politics, including war. However, across these practices, I argue that the Ukrainian government and its Western allies harness this agency as operational and narrative weapons. Patriotism and morality are pushed forward to mobilize individuals to participate in the war despite the risks that vigilantes and open-source investigators have to assume: risks of retaliation by Russian forces and lost independence.
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.16255
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Review of West’s Buy Now: How Amazon Branded Convenience and
           Normalized Monopoly

    • Authors: Matthew Crain
      Pages: 113 - 115
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.16071
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Review of Tiqqun’s The Cybernetic Hypothesis

    • Authors: Lander Govaerts
      Pages: 116 - 117
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.16032
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
  • Review of Topak, Mekouar, and Cavatorta’s New Authoritarian Practices in
           the Middle East and North Africa

    • Authors: Ahmed Alrawi
      Pages: 118 - 119
      PubDate: 2023-03-16
      DOI: 10.24908/ss.v21i1.15897
      Issue No: Vol. 21, No. 1 (2023)
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