CfP: Conference on Surveillance, April 2008

InVisibilities: The politics, practice and experience of surveillance in everyday life

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A TWO-DAY international conference hosted by the Centre for Criminological Research, University of Sheffield
in association with the Surveillance Studies Network

Wednesday 2nd April – Thursday 3rd April 2008

While many of the world’s nations are becoming surveillance societies, the nature of life with surveillance in those societies is far from homogeneous, and is not widely researched or theorised. This conference focuses on the lived realities of surveillance and is keen to encourage empirical studies which document its everyday experience.

By its very nature surveillance makes populations visible, and differentiates between their members; surveillance itself features varied techniques, intensities and foci.  Whether as workers, consumers, children, patients, criminals, web surfers or travellers we are made visible in different ways, through different technologies and administrative regimes.  Visibility is not always total, unproductive or oppressive – visibility is necessarily partial.   For some it is actively embraced: lives are lived in visibility.

Nevertheless, widespread ambivalence towards surveillance has been noted in academic, policy and media circles. As surveillance confers benefits and incurs costs on individuals, personal information economies of surveillance emerge.  In building personal strategies which involve surveillance practices, invisibilities are negotiated to mediate, limit and exploit exposure to surveillance.  How individuals, groups, organizations and societies negotiate, experience, resist, comply with, and enjoy surveillance are critical empirical questions, which appeal to surveillance scholars from a wide range of social science disciplines.

Key themes to include:

    Experiencing Surveillance and Visibility
    Participatory and Voluntary Surveillance
    Theorising (in)visibility
    Histories of Surveillance and Visibility
    Surveillance of the Other – Visibility and Difference
    Representations of Surveillance in Film/Art/Literature/Media
    State Surveillance and Identification
    Surveillance, visibility and the welfare state
    Surveillance and consumer visibility
    The transparent body
    Electronic visibilities
    (In)visibility and labour
    Negotiating (in)visibility
    Researching (in)visibility
    Spatial visibilities
    Surveillance futures

This is a non-residential conference and participants will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. The Conference will be held at ‘The Edge’, Sheffield University’s new state of the art conference venue.
The Conference Fee is £200 per person, which includes refreshments and lunch, and two years’ membership of Surveillance Studies Network.  For those not wishing to join SSN the conference fee is £175.

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