1st Edition

Surveillance and Identity
Discourse, Subjectivity and the State

ISBN 9781138278943
Published November 28, 2016 by Routledge
224 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

Surveillance and Identity analyses the discourse of surveillance in the contemporary United Kingdom, drawing upon public language from central government, governmental agencies, activist movements, and from finance and banking. Examining the logics of these discourses and revealing the manner in which they construct problems of governance in the light of the insecurity of identity, this book shows how identity is fundamentally linked to surveillance, as governmental discourses privilege surveillance as a response to social problems. In drawing links between new technologies and national surveillance projects or concerns surrounding phenomena such as identity fraud, Surveillance and Identity presents a new understanding of identity - the model of 'surveillance identity' - demonstrating that this is often applied to individuals by powerful organisations at the same time as the concept is being actively contested in public language. The first comprehensive study of the discursive politics of surveillance in the UK, this book makes significant contributions to surveillance theory, governmentality theory, and to political and social identity theories. As such, it will be of interest to social scientists of all kinds working on questions of public discourse and political communication, identity, surveillance and the relationship between the individual and the state.



David Barnard-Wills is Research Fellow in the Department of Informatics and Sensors at Cranfield University, UK


'These carefully selected fascinating case studies allow Barnard-Wills to chart the connections between emergent forms of identity, new technologies and governmental projects. The result is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the contemporary politics of surveillance.' Kevin D. Haggerty, University of Alberta, Canada '[This book] provides a rigorous methodological standard to draw upon. Barnard-Wills justifies the applicability of discourse analysis against its critics. The book provides guidance for those researching problematic concepts; the author examines ’surveillance’ via its contestations to enable the concept to become identifiable... Barnard-Wills makes a crucial intervention...' Political Studies Review '... offers a perfect combination of discourse theory and actual text analysis. ... the combination of theories of governmentality, surveillance and discourse theories makes it logically cohesive and thought provoking. Structurally, the book is well organized, with an introductory chapter that outlines the main content of the research and a concluding chapter that presents its theoretical as well as its practical implications. This book will be of great help to researchers of public discourse and communication, identity, surveillance and the relationship between the individual and the state.' Discourse Studies 'Not only does Surveillance and Identity provide a detailed literature review as well as empirical analysis of the discourses of surveillance, but it also shows how the representation of surveillance differs in public and academic discourses ... Overall, Surveillance and Identity is an invaluable resource for researchers working in the field of language and identity, as it provides inspiration for the investigation of discourse, subjectivity and the state in other contexts.' Discourse and Communication