CTS TU-Berlin German Centre of the International Theatre Institute D:4 BaSE | Büro für angewandte Statistik und Evaluationsforschung Philosophical Faculty University of Greifswald Surveillance and Society
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The New Surveillance – A critical analysis of research and methods in Surveillance Studies

A two-day International Conference

hosted at the Centre for Technology and Society of the Technical University Berlin
Thursday November 30th and Friday December 1st

In recent years a new field of social research has developed that focuses on the spreading applications of surveillance technologies in everyday life such as video monitoring, biometrics, GIS, drug testing and so forth. The emerging, interdisciplinary, field of Surveillance Studies drawing on the disciplines of Sociology, Psychology, Human Geography, Cultural Studies, Political Science, Criminology, Organisational Studies and Socio-legal Studies has started to unravel the consequences of the emerging Surveillance Societies. Existing research has started to:

  • identify the potential of the new technologies,
  • explore the organisational context of surveillance,
  • examine the practice of surveillance in a diverse set of contexts.

Despite this there remains a range of methodological issues surrounding the conduct of the empirical research on the new surveillance technologies. For instance, the current trend to integrate many sources of digital data, from video to fingerprints and DNA creates a surveillance assemblage, which gives ascendancy to the database. As a consequence, such systems are relatively opaque and require a high degree and variety of knowledge to unravel their meaning and their impact. This necessitates an analysis that begins with the socio-technical construction of databases and ends with the consequences in real-word interventions in various social contexts. What constitutes an adequate evaluation in this context is highly contested. Is it one that stresses issues of technical efficiency and the narrow concerns of policy makers? Or is one that seeks to understand the wider issues involved, including the social cultural practices that give rise to particular outcomes. And what is about the possible unintended consequences of the spread of the new technologies in terms of differentiation, categorisation and social exclusion? Should this be part of the evaluative agenda? And of course, should the implications for participation and governance also be considered by the proper domain of evaluation?
In this context the conference will concentrate on the appropriateness of various methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives for the analysis and evaluation of new surveillance technologies. It will focus more on the 'how' rather than the 'if' of the New Surveillance. It seeks to explore the challenges confronting researchers in the face of practices that are increasingly embedded in the 'codes and categorisations' of less than transparent, but none the less social, processes.
The conference invites members of the public and scholars from all disciplines to explore these questions and to exchange practical experiences with the following experts:

  • Nick Tilley, Nottingham Trend University, UK
  • Kevin Haggerty, University of Alberty, Canada
  • Elia Zureik, Queens University, Canada
  • Heidi Mork Lomell, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Clive Norris, University of Sheffield, UK
  • Gary T. Marx, M.I.T., USA (to be confirmed)
  • Thomas Mathiesen, University of Oslo, Norway
  • and others ...

In addition to this panel of experts, the conference will be complimented by a number of artistic contributions based upon the theme of surveillance. The wide range of artistic approaches as interventions in public spaces, choreographies including video cameras or the recent discourse on the 'art of control' within the critical art scene will be presented in lectures and performances.

It is planned that all papers given at the conference will be considered for publication.

Fees and Information
Participants will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. The conference Fee will be € 100 for the two days and € 70 for one-day attendance. There is a 50% reduction for students. Included in the fee are refreshments and lunch, but not overnight accommodation or evening meals. There will be a conference dinner on December 1st at an additional charge of € 45.

For registration please visit the following website: www.ztg.tu-berlin.de/surveillance/registration.html