[URBANTH-L]Workshop Announcement: Surveillance and Empowerment

Torin Monahan torin.monahan at vanderbilt.edu
Mon Nov 10 00:38:53 EST 2008


Workshop on Surveillance & Empowerment
March 20-22, 2009
Vanderbilt University; Nashville, Tennessee, USA

This workshop will bring together transdisciplinary and international  
scholars studying the social implications of contemporary surveillance  
with a particular interest in the complexities of empowerment.  In the  
surveillance studies literature, there have been significant  
contributions on social sorting, digital discrimination, privacy  
invasion, racial profiling, sexual harassment, and other mechanisms of  
unequal treatment.  In contradistinction, this workshop seeks to  
explore the potential of surveillance for individual autonomy and  
dignity, fairness and due process, community cooperation and  
empowerment, and social equality.  Key to this inquiry will be  
questioning the extent to which surveillance can be designed,  
employed, and regulated to contribute to democratic practices and/or  
the social good.

The very framing of the workshop in terms of “surveillance and  
empowerment” begs the question of empowerment for whom and for what  
purposes.  Thus, we seek to provoke a broad discussion about the ways  
in which surveillance practices may unfairly embody advantages for  
some groups over others and to explore alternatives.  To this end, the  
workshop organizers seek to include as many different voices as  
possible, from as many different countries as possible.

Given the diversity of scholarly interest in and approaches to  
surveillance, the workshop will be structured around discussion themes  
that individuals from any disciplinary background can participate in.   
Possible research areas might include (but aren’t limited to):

	• Surveillance in post-authoritarian societies – toward restrictions  
and counters to the unleashed surveillance of former regimes.
	• Ubiquitous computing environments that provide care for the  
dependent and elderly.
	• Social networking tools employed by social movements.
	• Surveillance of environmental toxins and waste management.
	• Monitoring of energy consumption at any level.
	• Surveillance of corporations, government agencies, or political  
parties by watchdog groups.
	• Policies for ensuring privacy, accountability, and transparency  
with video or other surveillance systems.

The findings of the workshops will be disseminated by means of a  
special issue of a journal, such as Surveillance & Society or  
Theoretical Criminology, or as an edited book.

Travel stipends, food, and lodging will be provided for all  
participants.  Participants will be chosen to provide a balanced  
representation of both junior and senior scholars, disciplinary  
training, and international perspectives.  Graduate students and  
participants from outside the U.S. are especially encouraged to apply.

Potential participants should submit:

1.       A 500-750 word abstract that discusses how your current and/ 
or future research fits with the proposed workshop theme of  
surveillance and empowerment, and

2.       A two-page curriculum vitae or resume, listing your relevant  
publications and experience.

Deadline:  January 5, 2009
Submit materials to:  workshop at publicsurveillance.com

Full papers will not be required in advance of the workshop. Article  
submissions for the journal will be requested in the months following  
the workshop (at a date yet to be determined).  Should we decide to  
pursue an edited book as an outcome of this workshop, we will ask  
participants to submit titles, abstracts, and brief biographies.

We will select and notify participants by January 20, 2009.  For more  
information, please contact Torin Monahan  
(torin.monahan at vanderbilt.edu) or visit www.publicsurveillance.com/workshop.html 

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation (under  
grant #0623122 and #0853749) and by the Department of Human and  
Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University.

The Workshop Committee
(Torin Monahan, Gary T. Marx, Simon A. Cole, Jill A. Fisher)
Torin Monahan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Human & Organizational Development
Associate Professor of Medicine
Vanderbilt University

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