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Politics, Technology, and Surveillance
176 pages, 8 illus. & tables, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78238-023-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (October 2013)
eISBN 978-1-78238-024-5 eBook
“This is a valuable contribution to the field of surveillance studies, in that it broadens the perspective of many aspects of research on surveillance through political anthropology; and it adds a considerable perspective to anthropology itself, as it concentrates on surveillance as a phenomenon of anthropological research, proving it to be an important aspect of societies today, or even seen in a wider context, of societies in general.” · Nils Zurawski, Hamburg University
“The author is not doing the usual technocentric study, but a sociopolitical, anthropological analysis with a critical theoretical and empirical approach, seriously considering the prolonged authoritarian surveillance past and its legacy, as well as the socioeconomic backwardness of this Southern European country.” · Minas Samatas, University of Crete
In Portugal between 2005 and 2010, “modernization through technology” was the major political motto used to develop and improve the country’s peripheral and backward condition. This study reflects on one of the resulting, specific aspects of this trend—the implementation of public video surveillance. The in-depth ethnography provides evidence of how the political construction of security and surveillance as a strategic program actually conceals intricate institutional relationships between political decision-makers and common citizens. Essentially, the detailed account of the major actors, as well as their roles and motivations, serves to explain phenomena such as the confusion between objective data and subjective perceptions or the lack of communication between parties, which as this study argues, underlies the idiosyncrasies and fragilities of Portugal’s still relatively young democratic system.
Catarina Frois is Invited Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Lisbon University Institute and Senior Researcher at the Centre for Research in Anthropology, Portugal. Her publications include The Anonymous Society: Identity, Transformation and Anonymity in 12-Step Associations (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and Vigilância e Poder (Mundos Sociais, 2011).