Negotiating Ubiquitous Surveillance

in Screen Bodies
Author:
Ira J. Allen Assistant Professor, Northern Arizona University, USA ira.allen@nau.edu

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Abstract

Surveillance now is ubiquitous—each of us is decomposed along multiple axes into discrete data points, and then recomposed on screens and in combinatory algorithms that organize our life chances. Such surveillance is directly screened in popular culture, however, quite rarely. It is hard to see ubiquitous surveillance, and the harder something powerful is to see, the more powerful it tends to be. The essays of this Screen Shot offer perspective on various concrete instances of contemporary surveillance, both ubiquitous and granular, and in so doing offer tools for negotiating its suffusive presence in and organization of our lives.

Contributor Notes

Ira J. Allen is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies at Northern Arizona University. He publishes on rhetoric, democracy, ethics, and writing and has translated works by Friedrich Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin, and Werner Hamacher, among others. His book The Ethical Fantasy of Rhetorical Theory (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018) explores the meanings and utility of rhetorical theory for scholars across the humanistic disciplines. His current research is on constitution-writing, religion in American history, and rhetorical witnessing. Email: ira.allen@nau.edu

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