Surveillance as Spatial Injustice

Lecture at VUB Research Chair in Surveillance Studies’ Seminars, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium, 17.06.2021

This seminar theorises surveillance practices in a framework of spatial (in)justice and examines new approaches in understanding resistance against surveillance based on theories of abnormal justice and politics of difference. The research project demonstrates how surveillance curtails, limits and disrupts participation in cyber, urban and physical spaces. The case study on using traffic control cameras’ footage against female drivers with improper veiling in Iran explores the interrelations between policing of women’s clothing in public spaces and their position in the virtual space of datasets, both as spatial injustices. The mutual constitution of physical and virtual is also studied through a thematic analysis of social media of two resistance campaigns against compulsory hijab depicting a continuum of spatial justice between the physical and cyber spaces. The seminar offers an epistemological rethinking of conceptualising regimes of surveillance in the countries of the global South as ‘exceptional’ cases and debates the homogenised theorisation of space and surveillance that leaves many realities outside its narrative.

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