SSN 2020: 9th Biennial Surveillance & Society Conference

Start date

Monday 8 Jun 2020, 12:00

End date

Wednesday 10 Jun 2020, 18:00

Daniil Kuzelev

Visual acuity has historically been measured based on the normative value of 20/20 vision. Yet in the year 2020, the clarity of vision regarding surveillance practices and their implications remains clouded at best. Join us in Rotterdam from June 8-10 to bring increased focus on understanding, evaluating, and responding to surveillance at the 9th biennial Surveillance & Society conference of the Surveillance Studies Network.

The metaphors of vision and optics are central – and privileged – components of surveillance research. This conference considers three interrelated lines of sight to bring increased focus on understanding, evaluating and responding to surveillance.

First, the benefits of hindsight call attention to surveillant antecedents that inform or impinge upon current developments and practices. Excavations into precursors of contemporary surveillance illuminate potential ideals and expectations for emerging types of monitoring.

Second, new trajectories of (in)sight articulate how surveillance serves as a means for the collection and mediation of a wide range of activities and behaviours. Particularly digital forms of information gathering lend themselves to the rapid collation and comparison of surveillance subjects in ways that both render them increasingly visible and subject to various unanticipated, unwanted and unjust interventions.

Third, the potentials of foresight allow a focus on the emergent character of surveillance indicative of new modalities of power, flows of information, and challenges to freedom, autonomy and action. Given the penchant for increased forms of control alongside various forms of resistance, the question of surveillance futures and its response remains crucial for continued analysis as well as social and political forms of engagement.

These lines of sight prompt different sets of concerns across (sub-)disciplines and approaches. We invite scholars, artists, and practitioners from a wide range of (disciplinary) backgrounds to critically engage with established and emergent surveillance practices, and the various dilemmas, opportunities and ambivalences these represent.

More information can be found on the SSN 2020 webpage