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School Surveillance

December 7, 2009

No-one could have failed to notice the gradual infiltration of security and surveillance technologies and practices into schools throughout the industrialised word. Of course, schools have always been sorting mechanisms (as Foucault pointed out), but the use of high-tech scanning systems at entrances, cameras in classrooms, RFID for library books and even meals, point to not just a justifiable concern with the safety of kids (and staff) but a combination of commercial pressure and paranoia.

My friend and colleague, Torin Monahan from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, has a new edited collection out on this very topic with Rodolfo Torres. Schools under Surveillance has a range of contributors, most of whom it is good to see are not the usual Surveillance Studies suspects. His local paper, The Tennessean did a story on the book, which notes Torin, has generated “a lot of crazy blowback” from bloggers in particular School surveillance is a sensitive topic which needs careful consideration, and it’s a shame some people can’t discuss these issues without such stupidity.

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