Surveillance Design Communities in Europe: A Network Analysis

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Theodore Baird


Building on the concept of the ‘surveillance-industrial complex’, I move from the ‘complex’ to the ‘community’, situating a number of organizations within ‘surveillance design communities’ (SDCs). SDCs are networks of linked organizations which engage in researching, developing, producing, and circulating surveillance technologies. Empirically I draw from data on the organizations involved in border surveillance funded by the European Union’s FP7-Security programme. Based on the novel conceptualization of SDCs, coupled with an analysis of new network data, the article demonstrates that important contributions to the design of surveillance are distributed among a small core of central organizations surrounded by communities of actors assembled in overlapping hierarchies. Hence, SDCs are interwoven, multiscalar networks of networks rather than simply a total ‘complex’ or sites for the overlap of the ‘public’ and ‘private’. 

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Author Biography

Theodore Baird, VU University Amsterdam

Theodore Baird is a post-doc at VU University Amsterdam in the Faculty of Law.