[URBANTH-L] CFP: States of Exception, Surveillance and Population Management: The Case of Israel/Palestine

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Thu Mar 6 11:16:47 EST 2008

States of Exception, Surveillance and Population Management:
The Case of Israel/Palestine

Social science research and legal studies of surveillance in Western 
countries have been on the increase in the last couple of decades, in 
particular after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. There is, however, a dearth 
of comparative, empirical research that includes the Middle East. The 
purpose of this call for papers is to examine surveillance practices in 
Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a conflict zone. The case 
study provides an appropriate venue for examining surveillance and its 
associated technologies at several levels: (1) social sorting of population 
through discursive practices involving people counting and census 
construction; (2) spatial control, urban warfare, and territorial 
sovereignty; (3) geographic mobility; (4) use of technology in its various 
forms to manage people and violence in conflict situations; (5) discourses 
of state securitization, biopolitics, and states of exception that are 
deployed as means of surveillance; (6) role of the 
military-industrial-surveillance complex in promoting surveillance; (7) 
extent to which existing privacy and other related laws protect against 
intrusiveness by the state, private sector, and third-parties in the 
collection and dissemination of personal information; and (8) how the 
practice of social sorting in Israel/Palestine has influenced and in turn 
been influenced by global considerations related to the discourse on 
security and terrorism.

Focus of the Proposed Workshop
            The proposed workshop will have three main foci: one, to situate 
studies of surveillance and population management in the context of 
theorizing about security and states of exception; second, to analyze the 
assemblages of surveillance techniques ranging from traditional forms of 
face-to-face contact to the use of various types of technologies in the 
gathering of personal information; finally, through a political economy 
perspective, to analyze state securitisation and the relationship between 
the military-industrial complex and the production of surveillance 
technologies. While twenty possible topics which address these foci are 
listed below, potential participants are encouraged to suggest for possible 
considerations other topics that fit within the overall framework of the 

Suggested Topics
1.      Theorizing states of exception and suspension of the law in conflict 
zones. Examples should include Israel/Palestine and other regions.
2.      Use of maps and censuses as discursive surveillance tools in the 
construction of citizenship, identity boundaries, and borders.
3.      The logic of biopolitics in Israel/Palestine as a case study or in 
comparison with other regions.
4.      Colonialism and states of exception in the analysis of population 
management and surveillance in British colonial Palestine.
5.      Face-to-face surveillance (role of informants and collaborators in 
pre- and post-1948 Israel/Palestine).
6.      Surveillance as a prelude to Palestinian refugee exodus in 1948.
7.      The checkpoint experience from the points of view of (a) the 
Palestinians and (b) Israeli soldiers.
8.      The passport and the ID as markers of citizenship criteria.
9.      Urban design, urban warfare and technologies of control.
10.  The Israeli military-industrial-surveillance complex (a political 
economy approach).
11.  Israel and other states of exception: surveillance in the 
securitisation of the state (role of military, police, and other security 
12.  Surveillance by the private sector (internet service providers, retail 
enterprises, commercial databases, etc.).
13.  Use of CCTV (as for example in Jerusalem, on Road 6, or other public 
places in Israel and the OPT).
14.  Profiling of individuals at crossing points.
15.  The Wall a means of surveillance/security and a tool of land/border and 
population management.
16.  The technological fix to counter surveillance and privacy protection: A 
critical assessment.
17.  Citizen knowledge and awareness of surveillance/privacy laws and their 
impact on human rights, freedom of information, etc.
18.  The extent to which Israeli policies of social sorting have influenced 
and been influenced by other conflict zones.
19.  Analysis of social sorting and its impact on issues of social justice 
and human security.
20.  Modes of resistance to surveillance techniques.

Workshop Sponsors and Venue
            The workshop is part of The New Transparency: Surveillance and 
Social Sorting project that is funded by the Social Science and Humanities 
Research Council through its Major Collaborative Research Initiative. The 
project involves  an array of international scholars working in surveillance 
studies. For more information click on 
            The workshop will be held either at Queen's University in 
Kingston, Ontario or somewhere in the Middle East, depending on where the 
majority of participants are likely to come from. Cost is a consideration 
here. At this stage, the workshop is scheduled to be held from 8-9 December 
2008 at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
            Those who are interested in submitting a proposal to participate 
in the workshop, should send their enquiries and a 500-word abstract to Elia 
Zureik (zureike at queensu.ca), Yasmeen Abu-Laban 
(yasmeen.abu-laban at ualberta.ca)  , or David Lyon (lyond at queensu.ca) by April 
1, 2008. Participants are encouraged to seek funding from their 
institutions. Some funds may be available for economy travel and local 
accommodation for those who indicate that their institutions or funding 
councils have turned down their request for funding. 

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