Critical Identities in the Age of Surveillance

Critical Identity Formations in the Age of Surveillance Networks

Lonneke van der Velden | Supervisor Richard Rogers | University of Amsterdam 2010-2014

This research project comprises an empirical-philosophical analysis aiming to develop conceptual tools for analysing contemporary surveillance networks and forms of critical identity formations. On the theoretical level it aims to overcome a post-Foucauldian deadlock by reframing surveillance, the impact of contemporary surveillance technologies, and practices of subversion through the work of Gilles Deleuze and Bruno Latour. On a practical level it aims to investigate the way in which evolving methods of surveillance and network-technologies take part in processes of identity formation. More broadly the research will contribute to critical discussions of surveillance that are currently limited to legalistic jargon or dated concepts of privacy. This project aims to shift the debate from a view of surveillance as methods of fear and, as a response, protection of the private self, towards one in which practices of surveillance become part and parcel of identity formation. This standpoint is not only better suited to approach current practices of surveillance, but it also generates new insights in the possibilities and political relevance of creative interventions. The central question therefore is: how to conceptualize critical identity formations in surveillance networks?