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Surveillance in the Time of Insecurity

Torin Monahan

Publication Year: 2010

Threats of terrorism, natural disaster, identity theft, job loss, illegal immigration, and even biblical apocalypse—all are perils that trigger alarm in people today. Although there may be a factual basis for many of these fears, they do not simply represent objective conditions. Feelings of insecurity are instilled by politicians and the media, and sustained by urban fortification, technological surveillance, and economic vulnerability.Surveillance in the Time of Insecurity fuses advanced theoretical accounts of state power and neoliberalism with original research from the social settings in which insecurity dynamics play out in the new century. Torin Monahan explores the counterterrorism-themed show 24, Rapture fiction, traffic control centers, security conferences, public housing, and gated communities, and examines how each manifests complex relationships of inequality, insecurity, and surveillance. Alleviating insecurity requires that we confront its mythic dimensions, the politics inherent in new configurations of security provision, and the structural obstacles to achieving equality in societies.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-

Figures and Tables

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pp. vii-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

If surveillance has multiple dimensions, including those of “care” and “control,” I can safely say that this book has benefited from the most caring forms of surveillance by others. The international Surveillance Studies Network and the editorial board of the journal Surveillance & Society deserve special mention for generously welcoming me into ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

What does insecurity mean today? Vulnerability to terrorist attacks might spring to mind as an initial response. Whether the targets are the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., public buses in London, or subways in Tokyo and Madrid, high-profile terrorist attacks command the ...

Part One - Security Cultures

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pp. 13-

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Chapter 1. Securing the Homeland

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pp. 15-25

Modern security regimes are defined by extremes. Practices of spying, torture, indefinite detention, and preemptive war have represented favored responses by the United States to threats of terrorism. But insecurity as a unifying concept has expanded virally since 9/11, spreading into domains of public health ...

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Chapter 2. Twenty-Four-Hour Exceptions

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pp. 26-36

Popular entertainment contributes significantly to public fear of not being prepared for future disasters. The television series 24, for example, depicts a world in a state of constant flux and crisis. It is a uniquely globalized world that demands skills of rapid assessment and adaptation, along with technological acumen. Because nothing ...

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Chapter 3. Situational Awareness of the Security Industry

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pp. 37-49

Whereas television series such as 24 normalize torture in the public imaginary and shape political discourse, U.S. government agencies actively partner with the security industry to propagate fear of terrorist attacks and cultivate a desire for prevention through technological means. This partnership is a component of larger ...

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Chapter 4. Vulnerable Identities

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pp. 50-63

Contemporary insecurity now extends well beyond individual bodies, national borders, and material infrastructures. It includes, as well, the electronic data required for people to function in societies. Given the enhanced vulnerability of people’s data, identity theft has become a critical concern, as it now ...

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Chapter 5. Leaving Others Behind

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pp. 64-78

Religious discourses can contribute significantly to the production of insecurity subjects, especially, it seems, when they stress personal over collective responsibility for meeting physical and spiritual needs during times of crisis. Broadly speaking, feelings of insecurity are often used by communities to justify harsh ...

Part Two - Surveillance Infrastructures

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pp. 79-

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Chapter 6. Residential Fortification

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pp. 81-98

Religious discourses can contribute significantly to the production of insecurity subjects, especially, it seems, when they stress personal over collective responsibility for meeting physical and spiritual needs during times of crisis. Broadly speaking, feelings of insecurity are often used by communities to justify harsh ...

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Chapter 7. Controlling Mobilities

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pp. 99-112

Concerns over new surveillance technologies and security policies tend to focus on the most obvious systems or flagrant breaches of privacy. These can include the spread of closed circuit television (CCTV) systems in urban areas, illegal government wiretapping programs, or liberal data sharing among private industries and government ...

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Chapter 8. Masculine Technologies

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pp. 113-127

Given today’s security cultures, one could say that insecurity subjects and failed insecurity subjects alike are gendered feminine.1 The former are charged with compensating for the state’s neglect of social needs, whereas the latter are deemed as requiring paternalistic monitoring and intervention. Modern surveillance technologies, on the other ...

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Chapter 9. Countersurveillance

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pp. 128-144

Resistance to surveillance, especially to dominating forms of surveillance, is a vital dimension of power negotiations. As Michel Foucault observes, “Where there is power, there is resistance, and yet, or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power.”1 Put differently, resistance is ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 145-150

Many meanings can be gleaned from the host of insecurities that confront societies today. Threats of terrorism, natural disaster, identity theft, job loss, illegal immigration, and even biblical apocalypse command the attention of people. Although there may be a factual basis for many of these fears, they do not simply represent ...

Notes

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pp. 151-175

Bibliography

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pp. 177-197

Index

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pp. 199-211


E-ISBN-13: 9780813549439
E-ISBN-10: 0813549434
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547640
Print-ISBN-10: 0813547644

Page Count: 226
Illustrations: 3 photographs, 1 table
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Critical Issues in Crime and Society
Series Editor Byline: Raymond Michalowski

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • National security -- United States.
  • Internal security -- United States.
  • Electronic surveillance -- United States.
  • Technology -- Social aspects.
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