Feminist Surveillance Studies

Feminist Surveillance Studies

Book Pages: 304 Illustrations: 8 illustrations Published: June 2015

Cultural Studies > Surveillance Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Sex and Sexuality, Media Studies

Questions of gender, race, class, and sexuality have largely been left unexamined in surveillance studies. The contributors to this field-defining collection take up these questions, and in so doing provide new directions for analyzing surveillance. They use feminist theory to expose the ways in which surveillance practices and technologies are tied to systemic forms of discrimination that serve to normalize whiteness, able-bodiedness, capitalism, and heterosexuality. The essays discuss the implications of, among others, patriarchal surveillance in colonial North America, surveillance aimed at curbing the trafficking of women and sex work, women presented as having agency in the creation of the images that display their bodies via social media, full-body airport scanners, and mainstream news media discussion of honor killings in Canada and the concomitant surveillance of Muslim bodies. Rather than rehashing arguments as to whether or not surveillance keeps the state safe, the contributors investigate what constitutes surveillance, who is scrutinized, why, and at what cost. The work fills a gap in feminist scholarship and shows that gender, race, class, and sexuality should be central to any study of surveillance.

Contributors. Seantel Anaïs, Mark Andrejevic, Paisley Currah, Sayantani DasGupta, Shamita Das Dasgupta, Rachel E. Dubrofsky, Rachel Hall, Lisa Jean Moore, Yasmin Jiwani, Ummni Khan, Shoshana Amielle Magnet, Kelli Moore, Lisa Nakamura, Dorothy Roberts, Andrea Smith, Kevin Walby, Megan M. Wood, Laura Hyun Yi Kang


"Feminist Surveillance Studies provides a much-needed set of feminist interventions into the study of surveillance. The essays offer critically important insights into the gendered dimensions of state surveillance, vividly outline the structural inequalities designed into surveillance regimes, and provide a wealth of avenues for future research." — Kelly A. Gates author of Our Biometric Future: Facial Recognition Technology and the Culture of Surveillance

"Remarkably intercommunicative and interdisciplinary, these essays are an important intervention in the burgeoning field of surveillance studies... Feminist Surveillance Studies is an overture that conceptualizes surveillance within an aesthetics of domination, a luxurious and galvanizing text to be deeply engaged and widely taught." — Stephanie Amon, Afterimage

"Feminist Surveillance Studies offers an important intervention in surveillance studies scholarship, one that is sure to shape the discipline moving forward. It is a must-read for teachers and scholars in this area, but the diverse array of case studies makes this book relevant for updating material in an array of media studies classrooms." — Dana Schowalter, Feminist Media Studies

"[A] necessary and important collection. . . . Rather than mark off a corner of scholarship as definitively feminist and definitively surveillance, Feminist Surveillance Studies asks us to rethink both, in service of more nuanced, just, and progressive critical frameworks." — Andrea Braithwaite, New Media & Society

"It is testament to the structural intra-disciplinarity of Feminist Surveillance Studies that the subject categories this book is labelled with—Gender Studies, Surveillance Studies, Cultural Studies—don’t cover the half of it. These framing points are enriched by the various socio-historical contingencies presented throughout. The multiple critical connections are precisely what is so vital about the book, and a reason I would include chapters from this book on reading lists for a general new media studies course, or contemporary literary studies and visual culture courses." — Zara Dinnen, New Formations

"On their own, and as a collection, the essays in Feminist Surveillance Studies offer an impressive array of empirically rich, theoretically engaged and critically-oriented contributions that should reshape the ways we do surveillance studies. Dubrofsky and Magnet are right to claim that their book will launch a new field of engagement. Feminist Surveillance Studies is a must-read for feminist and surveillance scholars alike." — Amanda Glasbeek, Theoretical Criminology

"The book provides a strong representation of methodologies that may engender many more surveillance studies using a feminist framework." — Matthew McMahan, TDR: The Drama Review

"[T]he greatest asset and success of Feminist Surveillance Studies is the breadth of cross-disciplinary approaches and subjects. With a call to create more connections, Dubrofsky and Magnet have curated a book that would be at home equally in the humanities and sciences." — Steve Luber, International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media

"Surveillance cannot but be about social sorting, so it must also always be about inequalities. This book prods and provokes its readers to focus critically on those inequalities so that the study of surveillance never slips into complacency or complicity." — David Lyon, author of Identifying Citizens: ID Cards as Surveillance


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Rachel E. Dubrofsky is Associate Professor of Communication at the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Surveillance of Women on Reality Television: Watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

Shoshana Amielle Magnet is Associate Professor at the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa. She is the author of When Biometrics Fail: Gender, Race and the Technology of Identity, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / Mark Andrejevic ix

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction. Feminist Surveillance Studies: Critical Interventions / Rachel E. Dubrofsky and Soshana Amielle Magnet 1

Part I. Surveillance as Foundational Structure

1. Not-Seeing: State Surveillance, Settler Colonialism, and Gender Violence / Andrea Smith 21

2. Surveillance and the Work of Antitrafficking: From Compulsory Examination to International Coordination / Laura Hyun Yi Kang 39

3. Legally Sexed: Birth Certificates and Transgender Citizens / Lisa Jean Moore and Paisley Currah 58

Part II. The Visual and Surveillance: Bodies on Display

4. Violating In/Visibilities: Honor Killings and Interlocking Surveillance(s) / Yasmin Jiwani 79

5. Gender, Race, and Authenticity: Celebrity Women Tweeting for the Gaze / Rachel E. Dubrofsky and Megan M. Wood 93

6. Held in the Light: Reading Images of Rihanna's Domestic Abuse / Kelli D. Moore 107

Part III. Biometric Technologies as Surveillance Assemblages

7. Terror and the Female Grotesque: Introducing Full-Body Scanners to U.S. Airports / Rachel Hall 127

8. The Public Fetus and the Veiled Woman: Transnational Surrogacy Blogs as Surveillant Assemblage / Sayantani Dasgupta and Shamita Das Dasgupta 150

9. Race, Gender, and Genetic Technologies: A New Reproductive Dystopia? / Dorothy E. Roberts 169

Part IV. Toward a Feminist Praxis in Surveillance Studies

10. Antiprostitution Feminism and the Surveillance of Sex Industry Clients / Ummni Khan 189

11. Research Methods, Institutional Ethnography, and Feminist Surveillance Studies / Kevin Walby and Seantel Anaïs 208

Afterword. Blaming, Shaming, and the Feminization of Social Media / Lisa Nakamura 221

References 229

Contributors 265

Index 271
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5892-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5920-3
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