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Surveillance | Society | Culture

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Edited By Florian Zappe and Andrew S. Gross

What only a few decades ago would have been considered a totalitarian nightmare seems to have become reality: Surveillance practices and technologies have infiltrated all aspects of our lives, forcing us to reconsider established notions of privacy, subjectivity, and the status of the individual in society. The United States is central to contemporary concerns about surveillance. American companies are at the forefront of developing surveillance technologies; and government agencies, in the name of security and law and order, are monitoring our words and actions more than ever before. This book brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore the implications of what many consider to be a far-reaching social, political, and cultural transformation.

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Afterword

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There are, of course, several entwined lines of thought to follow out—as for students and scholars to follow on from—in engaging with these compact essays. Given that the Introduction can be said, in an entirely tacit link, to take up where my “Postface: On Mediation as Interface” leaves off in 2015’s Closed Circuits—in its shift of focus, in regard to narrative cinema, from Foucault’s panopticon as disciplinary model to Deleuze’s more distributed loci of internalized oversight in the “control society” (cf. Stewart 240–55)—certain afterthoughts on my own part, and some added words, do seem in order. Indeed, the most integral response I can offer to the weight and force of the present collection, three years after the high-voltage conference that spurred it, is to help further confirm its finds—and findings—from evidence emerging since that film book of mine went to press, along with the simultaneous publication, unbeknownst to me at the time, of Catherine Zimmer’s Surveillance Cinema.

So, rather than rehearsing this collection’s separate arguments, already so well previewed and summarized in the Introduction, this is an Afterword in the mode of an estimated aftermath—catching up, if only briefly and spottily, with the continued manifestation of a surveillance thematic in international aesthetic production. The new exhibits I want to bring forward include not only recent film releases but also instances from such diverse yet convergent realms of cultural practice—honoring the broad-gauged scope of the preceding chapters—as...

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