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Forms of reconciliation: on contemporary surveillance

By Caroline Bassett


Post 9/11, surveillance systems of all kinds have been extended, powered by the security logic of the war on terror, which tends to transform even the convenience discourses of consumer surveillance into discourses of consumer protection. This process continues, so that, in the UK at least, the expectation of visibility/data-visibility is already the norm in many public places, as responses to CCTV coverage of the London bombings show. This chapter explores the total surveillance trajectory as a contemporary formation and considers cultural studies' possible responses to it. A point of reference here is One Dimensional Man, Marcuse's 1960s critique of mass society, which argues that the logics of a technocratic rationality informing both mass consumption and mass destruction (the threat of the Cold War) are totalitarian - a term that might have been intended in part as a provocation - and that might usefully be deployed as such today

Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2007
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