The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: A Political Economy of Surveillance

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Kirstie Ball, Laureen Snider
Routledge, Jul 4, 2013 - Social Science - 232 pages

Today’s ‘surveillance society’ emerged from a complex of military and corporate priorities that were nourished through the active and ‘cold’ wars that marked the twentieth century. Two massive configurations of power – state and corporate – have become the dominant players. Mass targeted surveillance deep within corporate, governmental and social structures is now both normal and legitimate.

The Surveillance-Industrial Complex examines the intersections of capital and the neo-liberal state in promoting the emergence and growth of the surveillance society. The chapters in this volume, written by internationally-known surveillance scholars from a number of disciplines, trace the connections between the massive multinational conglomerates that manufacture, distribute and promote technologies of ‘surveillance’, and the institutions of social control and civil society. In three parts, this collection investigates:

  • how the surveillance-industrial complex spans international boundaries through the workings of global capital and its interaction with agencies of the state
  • surveillance as an organizational control process, perpetuating the interests and voices of certain actors and weakening or silencing others
  • how local political economies shape the deployment and distribution of the massive interactions of global capital/military that comprise surveillance systems today.

This volume will be useful for students and scholars of sociology, management, business, criminology, geography and international studies.



the surveillance industrial complex towards a political economy of surveillance?
Part I International networks and global circuits of surveillance
Part II Surveillance capacity industrial infrastructures and resource distribution
Part III Groundlevel circulations
Appendix A
Appendix B

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About the author (2013)

Kirstie Ball is Reader in Surveillance and Organization at the Open University Business School, UK.

Laureen Snider is Professor of Sociology at Queen’s University, Canada.

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