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The Globalization of Surveillance

The Globalization of Surveillance

Armand Mattelart

ISBN: 978-0-745-64510-0

Oct 2010, Polity

248 pages

In Stock



Video surveillance, public records, fingerprints, hidden microphones, RFID chips: in contemporary societies the intrusive techniques of surveillance used in daily life have increased dramatically. The “war against terror” has only exacerbated this trend, creating a world that is closer than one might have imagined to that envisaged by George Orwell in 1984.

How have we reached this situation? Why have democratic societies accepted that their rights and freedoms should be taken away, a little at a time, by increasingly sophisticated mechanisms of surveillance?
From the anthropometry of the 19th Century to the Patriot Act, through an analysis of military theory and the Echelon Project, Armand Mattelart constructs a genealogy of this new power of control and examines its globalising dynamic.

This book provides an essential wake-up call at a time when democratic societies are becoming less and less vigilant against the dangers of proliferating systems of surveillance.
I Disciplining / Managing
1 - Surveillance: delinquency as a political observatory
2 - Punishing: the apprehended multitude
3 - Managing Mass Society: the lessons of total war
II Hegemonizing / Pacifying
4 - The Cold War and the religion of national security
5 - "Civic action" or the reappropriation of the national security doctrine
6 - Counterinsurgency, the crossroads of expeditionary forces
7 - The internationalisation of torture
III Securitizing / Insecuritizing
8 - The new domestic order
9 - War without end: the techno-security paradigm
10 - The European Police Area
11 - The traceability of bodies and goods
"A tightly packed and critical history of the global rise of security, surveillance and suspicion."
David Lyon, Queens University

"This book cuts through the clutter of post-9/11 political rhetoric to reveal the contours of a global capitalist surveillance economy in which the logics of policing and marketing converge. Mattelart counters the urgent injunction to ignore history in the face of the contemporary threat (because 'everything has changed') by exploring the long marriage between capitalism and surveillance. The book shows us how the mobilization of the promise of security has been used to undermine freedom, and suggests what it might mean to think the two together. This is an indispensable work that explores the sometimes invisible atmosphere in which we move: that of ubiquitous surveillance, tracking, and targeting - and the interests which these serve."
Mark Andrejevic, University of Iowa

  • Armand Mattelart is probably the best-known French writer on the media
  • This new book examines the very topical theme of surveillance, and the dangers and threats posed by the proliferation of mechanisms of surveillance in contemporary societies
  • He goes on to examine examples of this power of control such as the Echelon project and military theory
  • This book will appeal to a student market on relevant courses in sociology, communications and criminology which deal with surveillance