Bentham, Deleuze and beyond

An overview of surveillance theories from the panopticon to participation

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issueScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This paper aims to provide an overview of surveillance theories and concepts that can help to understand and debate surveillance in its many forms. As scholars from an increasingly wide range of disciplines are discussing surveillance, this literature review can offer much-needed common ground for the debate. We structure surveillance theory in three roughly chronological/thematic phases. The first two conceptualise surveillance through comprehensive theoretical frameworks which are elaborated in the third phase. The first phase, featuring Bentham and Foucault, offers architectural theories of surveillance, where surveillance is often physical and spatial, involving centralised mechanisms of watching over subjects. Panoptic structures function as architectures of power, not only directly but also through (self-) disciplining of the watched subjects. The second phase offers infrastructural theories of surveillance, where surveillance is networked and relies primarily on digital rather than physical technologies. It involves distributed forms of watching over people, with increasing distance to the watched and often dealing with data doubles rather than physical persons. Deleuze, Haggerty and Ericson, and Zuboff develop different theoretical frameworks than panopticism to conceptualise the power play involved in networked surveillance. The third phase of scholarship refines, combines or extends the main conceptual frameworks developed earlier. Surveillance theory branches out to conceptualise surveillance through concepts such as dataveillance, access control, social sorting, peer-to-peer surveillance and resistance. With the datafication of society, surveillance combines the physical with the digital, government with corporate surveillance and top-down with self-surveillance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)9-37
Number of pages29
JournalPhilosophy & Technology
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

Fingerprint

Participation
Gilles Deleuze
Surveillance
Panopticon
Physical
Theoretical Framework
Peers
Architectural Theory
Top-down
Conceptual Framework
Government
Social Control
Person
Thematic
Literature Review
Panopticism
Disciplining

Keywords

  • Surveillance theory
  • Discipline
  • Control
  • Surveillant assemblage
  • Surveillance capitalism
  • Participatory surveillance

Cite this

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title = "Bentham, Deleuze and beyond: An overview of surveillance theories from the panopticon to participation",
abstract = "This paper aims to provide an overview of surveillance theories and concepts that can help to understand and debate surveillance in its many forms. As scholars from an increasingly wide range of disciplines are discussing surveillance, this literature review can offer much-needed common ground for the debate. We structure surveillance theory in three roughly chronological/thematic phases. The first two conceptualise surveillance through comprehensive theoretical frameworks which are elaborated in the third phase. The first phase, featuring Bentham and Foucault, offers architectural theories of surveillance, where surveillance is often physical and spatial, involving centralised mechanisms of watching over subjects. Panoptic structures function as architectures of power, not only directly but also through (self-) disciplining of the watched subjects. The second phase offers infrastructural theories of surveillance, where surveillance is networked and relies primarily on digital rather than physical technologies. It involves distributed forms of watching over people, with increasing distance to the watched and often dealing with data doubles rather than physical persons. Deleuze, Haggerty and Ericson, and Zuboff develop different theoretical frameworks than panopticism to conceptualise the power play involved in networked surveillance. The third phase of scholarship refines, combines or extends the main conceptual frameworks developed earlier. Surveillance theory branches out to conceptualise surveillance through concepts such as dataveillance, access control, social sorting, peer-to-peer surveillance and resistance. With the datafication of society, surveillance combines the physical with the digital, government with corporate surveillance and top-down with self-surveillance.",
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Bentham, Deleuze and beyond : An overview of surveillance theories from the panopticon to participation. / Galič, Maša; Timan, Tjerk; Koops, Bert Jaap.

In: Philosophy & Technology, Vol. 30, No. 1, 1, 05.2016, p. 9-37.

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issueScientificpeer-review

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