Surveillance and Empowerment

I’ve just spent my Saturday getting the new issue of Surveillance & Society out…

8(2): Surveillance and Empowerment

edited by Torin Monahan, David J. Phillips and David Murakami Wood

  • James P Walsh – From Border Control to Border Care: The Political and Ethical Potential of Surveillance.
  • Katie Shilton – Participatory Sensing: Building Empowering Surveillance
  • Priscilla M Regan and Valerie Steeves – Kids R Us: Online Social Networking and the Potential for Empowerment
  • Dean Wilson and Tanya Serisier – Video Activism and the ambiguities of counter-surveillance
  • Marko M Skoric, Jia Ping Esther Chua, Meiyan Angeline Liew, Keng Hui Wong, and Pei Jue Yeo – Online Shaming in the Asian Context: Community Empowerment or Civic Vigilantism?
  • Ariane Ellerbrok – Empowerment: Analyzing Technologies of Multiple Variable Visibility
  • Gwen Ottinger – Constructing Empowerment through Interpretations of Environmental Surveillance Data
  • Anders Albrechtslund and Louise Nørgaard Glud – Empowering Residents: A Theoretical Framework for Negotiating Surveillance Technologies

+ all the usual book reviews

Coming soon: our forthcoming issues on ‘Surveillance, Marketing and Consumption’, and our ‘Global Surveillance Society?’ Conference specials.

Surveillance & Society | the international journal of surveillance studies

Call for Papers: Surveillance and Empowerment

Special Issue of Surveillance & Society: Issue 8(3)
Guest editors: Torin Monahan, David Murakami Wood, and David J. Phillips

Publication date: end of October 2010
Deadline for submissions: March 31st 2010

This issue of Surveillance & Society is seeking papers and other submissions that examine the social implications of contemporary surveillance with a particular interest in the complexities of empowerment. In the surveillance studies literature, there have been significant contributions unsocial sorting, digital discrimination, privacy invasion, racial profiling, sexual harassment, and other mechanisms of unequal treatment. In contradistinction, this issue seeks to explore the potential of surveillance for individual autonomy and dignity, fairness and due process, community cooperation and empowerment, and social equality. Key to this inquiry will be questioning the extent to which surveillance can be designed, employed, and regulated to contribute to democratic practices and/or the social good.

The very framing of the issue in terms of “surveillance and empowerment” begs the question of empowerment for whom and for what purposes. Thus, we invite critical attention to the ways in which surveillance practices may unfairly embody advantages for some groups over others and to explore alternatives. Possible research areas might include (but are not limited to):

  • Surveillance and human security
  • Surveillance and well-being / flourishing
  • Surveillance for safety
  • Ethical surveillance infrastructures and systems, e.g. ubiquitous computing environments that provide care for the vulnerable, dependent and elderly
  • Surveillance for sustainability, environmental management and environmental justice Surveillance of energy and resource consumption
  • Social networking tools employed by social movements
  • Surveillance of corporations, government agencies, or political parties by watchdog groups
  • Policies for ensuring privacy, accountability, and transparency with video or other surveillance systems
  • Surveillance in post-authoritarian societies – toward restrictions and counters to the unleashed surveillance of former regimes

We welcome full academic papers, opinion pieces, review pieces, poetry, artistic, and audio-visual submissions. Submissions will undergo a peer-review and revision process prior to publication. Submissions should be original work, neither previously published nor under consideration for publication elsewhere. All references to previous work by contributors should be masked in the text (e.g., “Author, 2009”).

All papers must be submitted through the online submission system no later than March 31st 2010, for publication at the end of October 2010. Please use submit the papers in a MSWord-compatible format. For further submission guidelines, please see:

For all inquiries regarding the issue, please contact:

For other current calls (including Issue 8(2) Surveillance, Consumers and Consumption) and announcements, please see:

New Issue of Surveillance & Society

NEW ISSUE: Volume 7 Number 1 (Open Issue)

  • Keith Guzik – Discrimination by Design: Data Mining in the United States’s ‘War on Terrorism’
  • Shelly Ikebuchi Ketchell – Carceral Ambivalence: Japanese Canadian ‘Internment’ and the Sugar Beet Programme during World War II
  • Nicholas Holm – Watching the Paranoid: Conspiracy Theorizing Surveillance
  • Christopher Gad & Peter Lauritsen – Situated Surveillance: an ethnographic study of fisheries inspection in Denmark
  • Patrick O’Byrne & Dave Holmes – Public Health STI/HIV Surveillance: Exploring the Society of Control
  • A video piece by Jan J Knoetze, Brent Meistre – Interrogating Surveillance: The 50 Minute Hour
  • Responses to previous articles by Sean P. Hier & Josh Greenberg and David Murakami Wood
  • and Book Reviews by Rodrigo Jose Firmino & Fabio Duarte, Ariane Ellerbrok, Patrick Feng, Jason Pridmore and Tarangini Sriraman

Call for Papers: 4th Surveillance & Society Conference, 2010




City University London, UK

April 13 – 15, 2010



Surveillance has become a ubiquitous feature of living in the global north, with citizens routinely monitored by a range of sophisticated technologies. Increasing levels of surveillance are typically justified and legitimated by threats of terrorism, fear of crime and disorder, as info/entertainment tools for the curious and through discourses emphasizing public and private service improvement. In spite of this, little is known about the effect of surveillance on individuals, society, the democratic polity, nation states in the developed and developing world, and the evolving nature of humanity.


This conference calls for papers which examine the many facets of surveillance and globality. In particular, we welcome papers which address:

  • Living in the surveillance age
  • Surveillance, difference and discrimination
  • Attitudes and experiences of the watcher and watched
  • The development and diffusion of surveillance technologies
  • Surveillance technology in practice
  • The political economy of surveillance
  • The business of surveillance
  • The surveillance of consumers and workers
  • Public policy, regulation and surveillance
  • The philosophy of surveillance and philosophical perspectives on surveillance
  • Surveillance, intelligence and war
  • Surveillance, sovereignty and the nation state
  • Surveillance and the production of space


This is a non-residential conference and participants will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation (we will provide advice for this in due course). The Conference will be held in and around the Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre and Foyer, City University London, UK. London is a powerful, global city at the sharp end of surveillance processes, protocols and debates and thus provides delegates with an apt cultural context for the exploration of the above themes.

The conference web site will be up and running from early October 2009 providing full details of the emerging conference programme (i.e. schedule, plenary speakers etc.), maps, accommodation advice, evening dinner information, payment details and an electronic registration form.

The Conference Fee is £200 per person, which includes attendance, refreshments, lunch and an optional £25 two year membership of the Surveillance Studies Network. The membership fee will be used to promote the charitable activities of the Surveillance Studies Network, support the continued publication of the Journal of Surveillance and Society and give other benefits to members.

There will be a formal conference dinner on the evening of April 14th at an additional charge of £50.


If you wish to present a paper, please submit your 300-word abstract and an accompanying set of three keywords to Lisa, the conference administrator, by November 7th 2009 (email: and please also include the following information so that we can contact you:

• Name

• Country of residence

• Institutional affiliation

• Institutional address

• Telephone number

• Email address

• 300-word abstract and list of three keywords

If you are thinking of attending but do not wish to give a paper, please send us the above information clearly stating that you do not wish to present a paper.

There will be two special issues of Surveillance and Society following this conference. The issues will be spaced to allow time for papers in different states of completion at the conference itself, to be submitted – please see the ‘Event Timetable’ section below. When you submit your abstract, please specify whether you intend to submit your paper to one of these issues.


We are hoping to offer ten reduced fee places for postgraduate students wishing to give a paper or present a poster display of their research. If you wish to apply for this, please register our interest as soon a possible and send a 300 word abstract to Lisa (or indicate that you wish to present a poster), the conference administrator by 7th November 2009 (email: Allocation of these strictly limited places will be based on the quality of the abstract/research description submitted and not on a first-come-first-served basis.

If you wish to attend, but do not wish to deliver a paper, please indicate this by the November 7th 2009.



September 3rd – Statement of intent issued

September 28th – Full call for papers issued

October 7th – Website goes live

November 7th – Deadline for the submission of abstracts

November 23rd – Second Call issued – with list of key speakers. Electronic booking form available and formal registration and payment begins

December 18th – Final deadline for the submission of abstracts


March 15th – Deadline for the electronic submission of full papers

March 15th – Final deadline for registration and payment for all conference attendees without late booking surcharge

March 24th – Papers published on Web available to all registered conference delegates

April 13th – 15th – Conference

June 30th – Deadline for submission to Surveillance and Society Conference Special Issue 1

Sept 30th – Deadline for submission to Surveillance and Society Conference Special Issue 2

Dec – Publication of Surveillance and Society Conference Special Issue 1


Feb/March 2011 – Publication of Surveillance and Society Conference Special Issue 2

Please register your interest NOW!

We look forward to hearing from you.


Dr Gavin Smith

Professor Clive Norris

Dr Kirstie Ball

Dr David Murakami Wood

Dr Will Webster

New Issue of Surveillance & Society Out Now!

It’s taken a lot of time and effort but finally we have… a New Website, New Automated Submissions System, New Calls for Papers and a NEW ISSUE OUT NOW!

6.1 Relaunch Issue: Revisiting Video Surveillance

New papers from Chris Williams, William Webster, Francisco Klauser, Dietmar Kammerer and Jeremy Douglas, insightful comment from Mike Nellis, a police surveillance film from 1935, and loads of book reviews.

Still to come this year: 6.2 Surveillance and Medicine; 6.3 Gender, Sexuality and Surveillance; 6.4 Open Issue; 6.5 Surveillance and Resistance.

Calls for Papers:

  1. Surveillance, Children and Childhood (ed. Val Steeves and Owain Jones) – deadline August 31st 2009;
  2. Performance, New Media and Surveillance (ed. John McGrath and Bill Sweeney) – deadline March 30th 2009.

Check the Announcements section of the website for details. As always, we have an open call for submissions on anything related to surveillance. And if you’re a postgrad or an early career researcher, you can even qualify for our new prizes! We also have a new video stream to handle films and slideshows.

Got a great idea for an issue? Any other questions? Get in touch. Contact our Editorial Assistant: Emily Smith.

Do you have a book that would be of interest to S&S readers, or want to review for us? Contact our Book Review Editor: Kevin Haggerty.

…and we are still completely free of any charges for publication or access. Want to support us? Join the Surveillance Studies Network, which runs Surveillance & Society and supports the development of Surveillance Studies worldwide.