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Imagining SurveillanceEutopian and Dystopian Literature and Film$
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Peter Marks

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781474400190

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474400190.001.0001

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Surveillance Studies and Utopian Texts

Surveillance Studies and Utopian Texts

(p.12) 1 Surveillance Studies and Utopian Texts
Imagining Surveillance

Peter Marks

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter surveys the history of the emerging academic subfield of surveillance studies, noting key developments in surveillance theory that start with the invocation of Nineteen Eighty-Four and George Orwell by James Rule. Surveillance theory moves, in the 1970s and 1980s toward the rich and generative work of Michel Foucault, and his revision of Jeremy Bentham’s notion of the ‘panopticon’, and then beyond Foucault into new territory. The chapters argues that an often-neglected link between these ideas is that of the utopian genre, which provides a challenging and illuminating set of texts through which to explore some of these notions. The chapter shows how these texts have been used, or might be used profitably to explore concepts raised by such foundational surveillance studies scholars as Gary T. Marx and David Lyon. It shows that more recent and important scholarship by, amongst others, Kevin Haggerty and Zygmunt Bauman, continues to invoke (even if negatively) utopian texts, suggesting the challenge and enlightenment such works still offer to surveillance studies more generally.

Keywords:   surveillance studies, James Rule, Michel Foucault, Jeremy Bentham, Panopticon, Gary T. Marx, David Lyon, Kevin Haggerty, Zygmunt Bauman

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