Call for Papers: Surveillance in Post-Communist Societies

Edited by Ola Svenonius (Stockholm University): or Fredrika Björklund (Södertörn University):

Deadline for submission: abstracts, April 23rd; final papers, October 1st.

Publication date: mid-2018


Surveillance during communism was endemic to the political system. As one of the main instruments of power in the communist regimes in Europe and Central Asia, surveillance was implemented through a wide range of control practices and technologies that were used to ensure the stable authority of state and Party apparatuses, such as informer networks, wiretapping, video surveillance, and correspondence monitoring. A lively debate ensued after the fall of the European communist regimes in 1989-91 about the effects of communist rule on populations in these societies. Concepts such as the post-communist condition, homo sovieticus and cultural trauma were used to describe psycho-social dispositions particular to the region.

A vast literature has emerged focusing on possible legacies of communism, lustration, and the post-communist transformation to capitalist democracy. However, surprisingly little social science research exists about surveillance– past or present – in the region. Perspectives from post-communist and post-Soviet societies are also generally underrepresented in surveillance studies, despite the significance of the region for our research field.

This special issue of Surveillance & Society seeks to help fill this gap by collecting cutting edge research on surveillance in post-communist and post-Soviet societies. We specifically welcome theoretical and empirical contributions from the social sciences, arts, humanities, and cultural and interdisciplinary studies.

A subset of accepted authors will be asked if they would like to present drafts at a workshop in Stockholm on June 14-15 organized in cooperation with the Like Fish in Water project and the Stockholm University Centre of Excellence in Societal Values and Security Technologies (NordSTEVA). Participants’ travel expenses will be covered by the Like Fish in Water project.

Please note that participation in the Workshop is not a condition for publication in the special issue.

Possible research areas might include (but are not limited to):

  • The use of surveillance techniques in communist regimes
  • Legacies of surveillance in post-communist countries
  • Continuity in public institutions across regimes
  • Semantics of security in (post-)communist societies
  • The development of the security sector in post-communist and post-Soviet societies
  • Everyday security practices in (post-)communist societies
  • Resistance and surveillance in (post-)communist societies
  • Surveillance and corruption in (post-)communist societies
  • Theoretical analyses of post-communism, surveillance and the resurgence of populism
  • Surveillance and authoritarianism

We also welcome other subjects not outlined above, opinion pieces and research notes, as well as art, new media and other cultural responses. For questions, please contact Ola Svenonius (Stockholm University): or Fredrika Björklund (Södertörn University):

Submission Dates and Instructions

  • April 23rd: Deadline for abstracts (to Editors)
  • May 1st: Notification of acceptance
  • June 1st: Submission of draft papers
  • June 14-15th: Workshop in Stockholm
  • October 1st: Full paper submission to Surveillance & Society website (see below)
  • June 2018: Publication

Please use standard formatting and submit the via the online system at:

  • If you have an existing account, simply ‘Login’ on the top menu or right hand column > select ‘Author’ > scroll down to Start a New Submission > and then ‘Click here’ to go to step one of the five-step submission process.
  • If you do not yet have an account, choose ‘Register’ from the top menu, and follow the instructions. *Please make sure to choose ‘Author’ as a role at the very bottom of the form.

Basic information for authors can also be found here:

Any questions about registration, submission or publication processes can be addressed to our Editorial Assistant, Sarah Cheung: