Skip to content


My new resolution is to stop promising so much that I will never be able to deliver and to relax and worry less about publishing.

That said, I am currently working on quite a few pieces, some of which had been put aside for a while and now picked up again. Several of the newer ones are with current and former students on my Ubicity project.

Currently in process (and actually with an end in sight), following a recent month spent writing:

  • A survey of public safety and surveillance in Japanese cities for the Handbook of Contemporary Japan;
  • ‘Local Policing in the Global City’, an article that summarizes the work I’ve been doing for years on public safety policy in Tokyo;
  • A piece on security in Anglo-American science fiction novels since 9/11;
  • ‘Dipping into the Data Flow’, on indirect surveillance in smart urban environments, with Jennie Day;

Currently working on the first draft:

  • An article on Open Data and Smart Cities in Canada, with Vincenzo Alaimo;
  • A full piece on the cultural responses to hacking movements, with Michael Carter – we recently published a short piece on infrastructure hacking in Limn magazine;
  • a piece on the Facebook manifesto and the rebranding of social media as the liberal communitarian answer to  authoritarianism, with Karina Russ

Just starting:

  • Something on asset management apps and the ‘smartening’ of BIAs, with Debra Mackinnon

I am also actually writing my long-threatened book, The Watched World: Towards Planetary Surveillance, which will be out next year, 2018. Torin Monahan and I have completed work on our new Surveillance Studies Reader and delivered it to Oxford University Press. They say it will be out in January 2018. Just starting now, I am editing the International Handbook of Cities and Security for Edward Elgar. On the back-burner is the edited collection I had proposed with Kiyoshi Abe on surveillance in Japan, which will eventually published in the Routledge / Nissan Institute Japanese Studies Series.

You can find links to most papers and chapters I’ve written here, but below is a list of things I’ve written previously that I think are worth your time to read, organised by rough themes:

Historical Development of Urban Surveillance

Coaffee, J., D. Murakami Wood and P. Rogers (2009) The Everyday Resilience of the City. Basingstoke UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

The book Jon Coaffee, Pete Rogers and I wrote, which I think is still a really strong work on urban security, insecurity and surveillance (rather than resilience per se, despite the title). Not many people read it, perhaps because of the title, but I think the historical chapters I wrote on the development are actually pretty good. There is a kind of summary of what I think about all this in this chapter:

Murakami Wood, D. (2010) ‘Urban Insecurity,’ in J. Peter Burgess (ed.) Handbook of New Security Studies, London: Routledge.

Surveillance and Technology

Murakami Wood, D. (2015) ‘Vanishing Surveillance: ghost hunting in the ubiquitous surveillance society’, in K. Veel and H. Steiner (eds.), Negotiating (In)visibilities, New York / Bern: Peter Lang.

Murakami Wood, D. (2008) ‘Towards Spatial Protocol: the topologies of the pervasive surveillance society’, in A. Aurigi F. De Cindio (eds.) Augmented Urban Spaces. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 93-106.

These two chapters on spatial protocol and vanishing surveillance (the latter being a deliberate follow-up to the former, albeit written in a different style), are probably a pretty good summary of my views on surveillance and technology until recently.

Murakami Wood, D. and Graham, S. (2006) ‘Permeable Boundaries in the Software-sorted Society: Surveillance and the Differentiation of Mobility’, in M. Sheller and J. Urry (eds.) Mobile Technologies of the City. London / New York: Routledge, 177-191.

Introna, L. and D. Wood (2004) ‘Picturing Algorithmic Surveillance: The Politics of Facial Recognition Systems’, Surveillance & Society, 2(2/3): 177-198.

Graham, S. and D. Wood (2003) ‘Digitising Surveillance: Categorisation, Space, Inequality’, Critical Social Policy, 23(2): 227-248.

These three early collaborative pieces all deal with algorithms and what would now be called ‘big data’. I think they stand up pretty well. ‘Digitising Surveillance’ is still my most cited work – well, anyone doing work on digital surveillance, algorithms, big data and so on SHOULD have read it. 😉

Surveillance Capitalism

Murakami Wood, D. (2013) ‘What is Global Surveillance? Towards a Relational Political Economy of the Global Surveillant Assemblage’, Geoforum 49: 317–326.

Murakami Wood, D and Ball, K. (2013) ‘Brandscapes of Control: Surveillance, marketing and the co-construction of subjectivity and space in neo-liberal capitalism’, Marketing Theory 13(1): 47-67.

These two 2013 theoretical papers, the latter written with the brilliant Kirstie Ball, aren’t read enough. Of course I would say that, but I think they both in different ways get to the heart of the development of what Shoshana Zuboff calls ‘surveillance capitalism’. There are a number of other pieces I’ve written that deal with aspects of this, including:

Murakami Wood, D. (2017) ‘Spatial Sorting’, in R. Kitchin, T.P. Lauriault, M.W. Wilson (eds.) Understanding Spatial Media. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.

Murakami Wood, D. (2010) ‘Spies in the Information Economy: Academic Publishers and the Trade in Personal Information’, ACME (special issue on Corporate Involvement in Geography) 8(3): 484-493.

Cultures of Urban Surveillance

Murakami Wood, D. and Abe, K. (2012) ‘The Aesthetics of Control: Mega-Events and Urban Governance in Japan’, Urban Studies, special issue on The City, Sport Mega-Events and Security (eds. Richard Giulianotti and Francisco Klauser) 48(15): 3241-3258.

Murakami Wood, D. and Abe, K. (2011) ‘The Spectacle of Fear: Anxious Events and Foreign Threats in Japan’, in C. Bennett and K. Haggerty (eds.) Security Games, London / New York: Routledge.

Murakami Wood, D., D. Lyon and K. Abe (2007) ‘Surveillance in Urban Japan: A Critical Introduction’, Urban Studies 44(3): 551-568.

A series of pieces written with Kiyoshi Abe (and David Lyon) on the development of surveillance in Japan. The pieces try to develop a theoretical approach that isn’t dominated by western academic theory, drawing on Japanese sociologists and concepts as well as western ones.

Murakami Wood, D. (2013) ‘The Security Dimension’, in M. Acuto and W. Steele (eds.) Global City Challenges, Basingstoke UK: Palgrave.

Murakami Wood, D. (2011) ‘Cameras in Context: A Comparison of the Place of Video Surveillance in Japan and Brazil’ in A. Doyle, R. Lippert and D. Lyon (eds.) Eyes Everywhere: the Global Spread of Video Surveillance. London / New York: Routledge.

Murakami Wood, D. (2011) ‘Surveillance’, in Taylor, B. Derudder, M. Hoyler and F. Witlox (eds.) International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities, New York: Edward Elgar.

These three pieces are comparative ones dealing with the research I did in Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, and to a lesser extent, London. The chapter, ‘The Security Dimension’, I had originally called ‘Global cities between biopolitics and necropolitics’, and you should still be able to it under that title on I don’t always like what I write, but I really like this piece.

Murakami Wood, D. (2009) ‘The Surveillance Society: Questions of History, Place and Culture’, for European Journal of Criminology (special issue on Surveillance in Europe, ed. Ben Goold) 6(2): 179-194.

This piece sets out the general thinking behind my approach in the Cultures of Urban Surveillance project.

Planetary Surveillance

Murakami Wood, D. (2017) ‘Urban surveillance after the end of the era of globalization,’ in J. Rennie Short (ed.) A Research Agenda for Cities. New York: Edward Elgar.

Murakami Wood, D. (2012) ‘Surveillance and Globalization’ in D. Lyon, K. Haggerty, and K. Ball (eds.) International Handbook of Surveillance Studies, London / New York: Routledge.

Donaldson, A. and D. Wood (2004) ‘Surveilling Strange Materialities: categorization in the evolving geographies of FMD biosecurity in the UK’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 22(3): 373 – 391.

I’m not particularly happy with the 2017 chapter but it’s a start in laying out where I am currently going combining economic globalism, ubiquitous surveillance, the Anthropocene and ecological meltdown. The piece for the Handbook of Surveillance Studies bridges the gap between my Cultures of Urban Surveillance work, the stuff on Surveillance Capitalism and newer work on what I am now calling ‘Planetary Surveillance’. The paper written with Andrew Donaldson, who is now at GURU in Newcastle, was my first real attempt to get to grips with all this at a very different scale, and is actually much better (probably entirely due to Andrew…). We also wrote a shorter follow-up which was speaking much more directly to geographers:

Donaldson, A. and D. Murakami Wood (2008) ‘Avian Influenza and the Shape of a Political Biogeography’, Area 40(1): 128-130.


I’ve written a number of editorials for Surveillance & Society over the years, solo and jointly, all of which have something important to say. Editorials by their nature are shorter, more polemic and often don’t last as well over time, but I think these ones are all worth revisiting, particularly the longer ones from 2015, 2012, 2010 and 2004, which are trying to set out contexts and agendas for future work:

Murakami Wood, D. and S. Wright (2015) ‘Before and After Snowden’, Surveillance & Society 13(2): 132-138.

Ball, K. and D. Murakami Wood (2013) ‘Political Economies of Surveillance’, Surveillance & Society 11(1/2): 1-3.

Lippert, R. and D. Murakami Wood (2012) ‘New Urban Surveillance: Technology, Mobility, and Diversity in 21st Century Cities’, Surveillance & Society 9(3): 257-262.

Monahan, T., D.J. Phillips & D. Murakami Wood (2010). ‘Surveillance and Empowerment’, Surveillance & Society 8(2): 106-112.

Murakami Wood, D. (2009) ‘Questions of Surveillance’, Surveillance & Society 7(1): 1-2.

Murakami Wood, D. (2009) ‘A New Baroque Arsenal? Surveillance in a Global Recession’, Surveillance & Society 6(1): 1-4.

Wood, D. (2004) ‘People Watching People.’ Surveillance & Society 2(4): 474-7.

Norris, C., M. McCahill and D. Wood (2004) ‘The Growth of CCTV: a global perspective on the international diffusion of video surveillance in publicly accessible space,’ Surveillance & Society 2(2/3): 110-135.

%d bloggers like this: