Contesting a biopolitics of information and communications: The importance of truth and sousveillance after Snowden

Miguelángel Verde Garrido

Abstract


This article aims to provide a novel conceptual understanding of the nature of the global mass surveillance policies and practices revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in collaboration with the Guardian and Washington Post newspapers. The critical analysis and conceptual reinterpretation of state and corporate surveillance and its impact on the political agency of civil society is multidisciplinary. An intersection of surveillance studies, political philosophy, and global politics/international relations provides an overview of the policies and practices that states and corporations develop and implement in relation to information and communications technologies (ICT). Clarifying how contemporary society is global and digital, it analyzes the way in which political economies inform contemporary policies and practices of surveillance. A critical analysis the relation of political economy to neoliberal governmentality, biopolitical technologies of power, and contemporary regimes of truth, leads to posit that global mass surveillance is a technology of power deployed by a contemporary biopolitics of information and communication. A conceptual reinterpretation of Foucault’s notion of parrhesia and Mann’s notion of sousveillance leads to posit that parrhesiastic sousveillance is a socio-political and technologically-enabled modality of resistance that can resemantize contemporary politics of truth and lead towards a newborn digital agency for global(ized) civil society.

Keywords


Global politics; biopolitics; parrhesia; biopolitics of information and communications; resistance; information and communications technologies (ICT); sousveillance; regime of truth; political economy; states; corporations; civil society

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