SSN 2020 – call for papers

The 9th biennial Surveillance & Society conference of the Surveillance Studies Network, hosted by Erasmus University Rotterdam on June 8-10 2020 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Visual acuity has historically been measured based on the normative value of 20/20 vision. Yet by the year 2020, the clarity of vision regarding surveillance practices and their implications remains clouded. The metaphors of vision and optics are central – and privileged – components of surveillance research. This conference considers three interrelated lines of sight to bring increased focus on understanding, evaluating and responding to surveillance.

First, the benefits of hindsight call attention to surveillant antecedents that inform or impinge upon current developments and practices. Excavations into precursors of contemporary surveillance illuminate potential ideals and expectations for emerging types of monitoring.

Second, new trajectories of (in)sight articulate how surveillance serves as a means for the collection and mediation of a wide range of activities and behaviours. Particularly digital forms of information gathering lend themselves to the rapid collation and comparison of surveillance subjects in ways that both render them increasingly visible and subject to various unanticipated, unwanted and unjust interventions.

Third, the potentials of foresight allow a focus on the emergent character of surveillance indicative of new modalities of power, flows of information, and challenges to freedom, autonomy and action. Given the penchant for increased forms of control alongside various forms of resistance, the question of surveillance futures and its response remains crucial for continued analysis as well as social and political forms of engagement.

These lines of sight prompt different sets of concerns across (sub-)disciplines and approaches. We invite scholars, artists, and practitioners from a wide range of (disciplinary) backgrounds to critically engage with established and emergent surveillance practices, and the various dilemmas, opportunities and ambivalences these represent.

Key tracks of the conference include but are not limited to:

  • Re-envisioning surveillance histories
  • Foreseeing futures
    • Regulations, politics and governance of surveillance
    • Science fiction and dystopian accounts
  • Organisational, industrial and commercial visions
    • Surveillance and the workplace
    • Consumption and surveillance
    • Medical surveillance
    • Fraud detection and security
    • Education and monitoring
  • Viewing transitions
    • Migration and refugees
    • Borders and security
    • Social movements and protests for change
    • Electoral monitoring
  • Digitally mediated surveillance
    • Algorithms and focused monitoring
    • Drones and security devices
    • Social media platforms
    • Mobile devices, including wearables
    • Internet infrastructures
    • IoT devices
    • Big data analytics
  • Sensing beyond seeing
    • Critiques of visual metaphors
    • Listening and other kinds of sensing
  • Intersecting concepts and concerns
    • Racialization
    • Gender and identity
    • Families and children
    • Politics and social justice
    • Policing and security
    • Privacy (and critiques thereof)
    • Ethics (in relation to citizenship, design and/or research)
    • Bodies and biometrics
    • Households and neighbourhoods

Submission criteria:

Interested conference participants are invited to submit abstracts for this proposal. Due to the limited number of sessions, authors are limited to one first author submission for a paper and organisation of one proposed panel. Authors can be second author on other papers, but should not be the (primary) presenter.

Paper Proposals

Paper sessions will be composed by the Organising Committee based on the individual paper abstracts submitted. Abstracts should consist of:

  • Name(s) of Author(s)
  • Affiliation(s) of Author(s)
  • Proposed Title of Paper
  • An abstract of up to 200 words

Panel Proposals

Panels are sessions that bring together a group of presenters with contributions on a topic related to the conference themes. The session format should engage the panellists and audience in interactive discussions and preferably represent a diversity of views on the topic. Panels should be designed to fit in a 90-minute session, and feature a minimum of three presentations. Panel Proposals should consist of:

  • Name(s) of Organiser(s)
  • Affiliation(s) of Organiser(s)
  • Proposed Title of Panel including the indication [PANEL] in the title
  • An abstract of up to 350 words, including an explanation of why the panel is of interest to the conference, and the proposed format of the panel.
  • Name(s) and Affiliation(s) of all proposed panellists. NB: Organisers must secure the agreement of all proposed panellists before submitting the Panel Proposal.

Submission process and information:

All paper and panel proposals should be submitted through the Easy Chair submission system: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=ssn2020

For further information, please visit our website at: https://www.eur.nl/en/eshcc/ssn-2020

Key dates:

  • December 15, 2019: Submission of individual paper abstracts and conference panels
  • February 15, 2020: Decisions regarding paper and panel proposal acceptance
  • March 15, 2020: Preliminary conference programme available
  • May 1, 2020: Submission of full papers and extended abstracts
  • June 7, 2020: Welcome and opening drinks
  • June 8-10, 2020: Conference is held in Rotterdam

Forthcoming request for artistic submissions

Within this conference, we wish to engage with artists working with various media to enhance our understandings and experiences of surveillance research and contexts. The conference organisers are working with local artists and the SSN Arts Prize Committee to ensure artistic inclusion at SSN 2020. In the coming months, more details about how to participate will be forthcoming.

Organizing Committee

  • Rosamunde Van Brakel, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Chair)
  • Jason Pridmore, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, The Netherlands (Local conference Director)
  • Daniel Trottier, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, The Netherlands (Local conference Director)
  • Ani E. Egwuchukwu, Renaissance University, Nigeria
  • David Murakami Wood, Queens University, Canada
  • Tessa Oomen, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Alana Saulnier, Lakehead University, Canada
  • Emmeline Taylor, City, University of London, UK
  • Dean J. Wilson, University of Sussex, UK

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