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Surveillance and Information Gathering Surveillance.doc

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Paula Maurutto

SOC316 July 11th Surveillance and Information Gathering Surveillance - producing knowledge about certain populations - accumulation of information - away from the classical notion of someone watching someone else - 2 metaphors in surveillance o 1. Big Brother o 2. Panopticon 1. Big Brother - is always watching you … - dystopic world, world is divided into 3 parts that are at war - in Oceania – the idea of Big Brother – totalitarianism o mythical power – ever-present o surveillance: social order and promote conformity o upper and middle class are intensely monitored - issues with using this as a model for surveillance as running society o focuses on the state (thought police) as the main agent of surveillance o Big Brother – technological advancements o But it still remains relevant in the ways we think about state involvement - metaphor is useful for: o 1. how surveillance leads to conformity  don’t know when you are being watched – simple start to comply o 2. the importance of privacy in the face of surveillance and the loss of dignity o 3. power is maintained through a centralized bureaucracy  many little Brothers (Whitaker) Bentham’s Panopticon - someone in the middle of the prison watching every prison - trying to transform the individual/prisoner - working on the soul to train the body - more than just observation - constant state of surveillance – trigger self-control o supposed to transform the way they relate to the world - contrasted with Orwell: o power is not as painful in the project of transformation - 1. surveillance is being productive o a way to get compliance in larger societies o school/military/penal systems o a way of thinking about transforming the entire social body – carceral society o never know when we are being watched, so we increasingly self-monitor ourselves – self police o working class needs to fill into capitalist economy – need to monitor themselves  this population lacks that self-control - 2. beyond the state o not as totalitarian as Orwell’s state o creates that self-discipline, not just crush conformity - 3. accumulating information o creating of mandatory schooling, youth justice system o schooling was a way to teach about the new invented group of adolescents - 4. direct supervision of subordinated o see what normal is, what are the exceptionalities (bell curve) o see not only what you are doing, but what others are too o how do you match up with others - rise of computerized databases - surveillance cameras – very strong Surveillant Assemblages - accounts for the dispersal, decentralization, and globalization of surveillance o all the records you have at different places – hospitals, schools, credit cards o information transcends borders/countries - the assemblages is about linking, cross-referencing, pulling threads together o loosely linked systems – not like BB - abstracting bodies from places and splitting them into flows to be reassembled as virtual data-doubles o not as centralized – but there are so many little forms of surveillance going on and the state does not bring them all together o working alongside the state, or working counter the state o there is no dominant way things have to go o network of surveillance is not all for the end goal of anything o dispersed assemblages o multiplicity of objects – anything can be part of the assemblages – diversity  only related to each other because they can…[function together]  same objects can be used in different assemblages - increasingly driven by desire to bring the systems together - not just about the state, but about extra state institutions Data Double (Ericson and Haggerty) - breaking down the body into discrete flows of information - the body is broken down and abstracted - then is reassembled in a different setting through a series of data flows - the result is a data double of pure virtuality o cyborg – a computer profile of you out there – your double - surveillance now in
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