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THE GLOBALISATION OF SURVEILLANCE

The Origin of the Securitarian Order
Armand Mattelart
Translated by Susan Gruenheck Taponier and James A. Cohen

Globalization

Video surveillance, public records, fingerprints, hidden microphones, radio frequency chips: in contemporary societies the use of intrusive techniques of surveillance in daily life has increased dramatically. The ‘war against terror’ has only exacerbated this trend, creating a world that is closer than one might imagine to the one envisaged by George Orwell in 1984.

How did we reach this point? Why have democratic societies allowed their rights and freedoms to be taken away, little by little, through increasingly sophisticated surveillance mechanisms?

From the anthropometry of the nineteenth century to the Patriot Act, via an analysis of military theory and the Echelon project, Armand Mattelart constructs a genealogy of this new power of control and examines its globalizing dynamic.

This book provides an essential wake-up call at a time when democratic societies are becoming less and less vigilant against the dangers of proliferating systems of surveillance.

A tightly packed and critical history of the global rise of security, surveillance and suspicion.’— David Lyon, Queens University

This book cuts through the clutter of post-9/11 political rhetoric to reveal the contours of a global capitalist surveillance economy in which the logics of policing and marketing converge. Mattelart counters the urgent injunction to ignore history in the face of the contemporary threat (because “everything has changed”) by exploring the long marriage between capitalism and surveillance. The book shows us how the mobilization of the promise of security has been used to undermine freedom, and suggests what it might mean to think the two together. This is an indispensable work that explores the sometimes invisible atmosphere in which we move: that of ubiquitous surveillance, tracking, and targeting – and the interests which these serve.’— Mark Andrejevic, University of Iowa

Printed in Great Britain, August 2010

Polity Books: http://www.politybooks.com

 

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