||The institutionalized monitoring of individuals, events and actions. Surveillance typically relies on the production of a time-space grid that segments its field of observation, and for this reason human geography has become interested and involved in the process in two main ways.
On the one side has been a largely technical or instrumental interest, expressed through the collection and analysis of official statistics, often sponsored by state or corporate institutions. This interest has been intensified by the development of geographical information systems (GIS) which have considerably enhanced the capacity of those powerful enough to have access to them to maintain routinized and often publicly unaccountable surveillance (see Pickles, 1995).
On the other side, and mirroring those practices, has been a critical interest which has been inspired by the French philosopher Michel Foucault\'s Discipline and punish (1975; trans., 1977; see Driver, 1985). This extraordinarily influential text was ostensibly a history of the modern French prison, but Foucault used those materials to provide an ambitious genealogy of a distinctively modern form of power which he called \'disciplinary power\'. His analysis had two stages.
In the first instance, disciplinary power depended on the installation of geographies of partition: it operated within closed institutions like prisons, where it partitioned and subdivided internal spaces, assigned individuals to their \'proper\' places, and subjected them to regular and routinized monitoring (cf. Philo, 1989; Robinson, 1990; Driver, 1993; Crush, 1994). To illustrate his ideas, Foucault used Bentham\'s eighteenth-century model of the ideal prison â€” the Panopticon â€” within whose confines inmates were isolated in their cells where they were constantly liable to visual inspection from a central watchtower. The point of this example was to dramatize the intimacy of the connections between the segmentation of space, vision and visuality, and the operation of disciplinary power. Foucault\'s most controversial claim was that, within a disciplinary apparatus of this kind, the inmates would regulate their own conduct: never knowing whether they were under surveillance or not, they would come to act as though they always were:
He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relations in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection.By such means the regulation of space provided for the \'normalization\' of the subject.
In the second instance, Foucault provided an argumentation-sketch in which disciplinary power slowly emerged from these peripheral locations and \'swarmed\' towards the centre until, at the limit, the whole surface of society was punctuated with centres of observation. Seen thus, surveillance was indispensable to the formation of what he called disciplinary society:
Our society is one not of spectacle but of surveillance; under the surface of images, one invests bodies in depth; behind the great abstraction of exchange, there continues the meticulous, concrete training of useful forces; the circuits of communication are the supports of an accumulation and centralization of knowledge; the play of signs defines the anchorages of power; it is not that the beautiful totality of the individual is amputated, repressed, altered by our social order, it is rather that the individual is carefully fabricated in it, according to a whole technique of forces and bodies.These claims speak directly to the connections between the production and segmentation of space, the body and the formation of subjectivities (see subject formation, geographies of). But they also insist on the productive capacities of surveillance and disciplinary power, a sort of operative agency, in contrast to what Foucault took to be the passivity of visual technologies like the spectacle: \'We are neither in the amphitheatre nor on the stage,\' he insisted, \'but in the panoptic machine, invested by its effects of power, which we bring to ourselves since we are part of its mechanism\' (emphasis added).
Many contemporary analyses of \'the surveillance society\' have drawn productively on Foucault\'s theses. They have qualified the diagram of the Panopticon in suggestive and important ways: the reproduction of \'normal\' social life takes place within a system of \'imperfect Panopticism\' (Hannah, 1997); dispersed and networked systems of surveillance have produced no single, central watch-tower â€” a masculinized \'Big Brother\' â€” but rather \'a widening, deepening, and broadening range of â€œLittle Brothersâ€\' (Lyon, 1994; Graham, 1998); and the development of new technologies is intimately connected to the production of new spatial practices and new material geographies (Lyon, 1994; Graham, 1998).Â (DG)
References Crush, J. 1994: Scripting the compound: power and space in the South African mining industry. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 12: 301-24.Â Driver, F. 1985: Power, space and the body: a critical assessment of Foucault\'s Discipline and punish. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 3: 425-46.Â Driver, F. 1993: Power and pauperism: the workhouse system 1834-1884. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Â Foucault, M. 1977: Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. London: Allen Lane.Â Graham, S. 1998: Spaces of surveillant simulation: new technologies, digital representations and material geographies. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 16.Â Hannah, M. 1997: Imperfect Panopticism: envisioning the construction of normal lives. In G. Benko and U. Strohmayer, eds, Space and social theory: interpreting modernity and postmodernity. Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 344-59.Â Lyon, D. 1994: The electronic eye: the rise of surveillance society. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Â Philo, C. 1989: Enough to drive one mad: the organisation of space in nineteenth-century lunatic asylums. In J. Wolch and M. Dear, eds, The power of geography. London: Unwin Hyman, 258-90.Â Pickles, J., ed., 1995: Ground truth: the social implications of Geographic Information Systems. New York: Guilford.Â Poster, M. 1990: The mode of information: post-structuralism and social context. Cambridge: Polity Press.Â Robinson, J. 1990: \'A perfect system of control?\' State power and native locations in South Africa. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 8: 135-62.
Suggested Reading Crush (1994).Â Dandeker, C. 1990: Surveillance, power and modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Â Foucault (1977).Â Lyon (1994).