Diverting and diverted glances at cameras: playful and tactical approaches to surveillance studies

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Justine Gangneux


In the lines of Albrechtlund and Dubbled (2005) and their call for a new direction in Surveillance Studies, this paper discusses the overlapping of surveillance, art and entertainment. Indeed surveillance ought to be considered not only regarding its negative implications (e.g. the infringement of privacy or social sorting) but also regarding ‘the fun features and entertainment value of surveillance’ (Albrechtlund and Dubbled 2005: 216). Drawing on this new direction in the recent years in Surveillance Studies, this paper focuses on the interplay between watcher and watched and the possibility of challenging surveillance through artistic, entertaining or/and playful motives. Play and games within this framework participate both to the active appropriation of the surveillant hegemonic values (and therefore their acceptance) and to the creation of a space of negotiations (and therefore the possibility of resistance). Thus this paper discusses, using several examples, the line between art, entertainment and resistance that has become blurry and has left a wider margin to respond to surveillance processes.

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Author Biography

Justine Gangneux, University of Glasgow

Ph.D. in Sociology, University of Glasgow

Research Interests : surveillance technologies, young people, visual and participatory methods