All _Essays

Exploring Surveillance Culture

It seems to make sense — though it might be annoying — when you receive internet ads that seem to match your interests, just after you clicked on a site for household tools or exotic vacations. This is a commonplace, unremarkable online event in the early twenty-first century. But what about old-fashioned email? Can corporate surveillance track you there? Surely. Commercial emails contain a high density of third-party trackers. [1] […]

Why Should We Talk About Culture, When We Want to Understand ‘Surveillance’?

In public debate, surveillance is considered mainly at the level of institutional power. Consequently, the debate centers on regulatory and legal interventions aimed at specific institutions and actors, be they governmental or commercial. While I will not argue against such a perspective, I find it inadequate for a comprehensive assessment of surveillance as a dynamic set of technologies, techniques, and practices that impact our daily lives […]

The Ubiquitous View

Surveillance, Imagination, and the Power of Being Seen

To see and be seen is the most explicit obsession in modernity. Our cultural imagination is loaded with images of visual encounters that remain one-sided as clandestine views on the other that deprive the other as individual of its very intimacy. The act of being seen, therefore, is a highly political act. Usually to be seen by the other should demand the act of recognition and, therefore, contribute to the establishment of the self as social subject. […]

Reclaiming Possession

A Critique of the Discourse of Dispossession in Indigenous Studies

Indigeneity is more or less universally defined by claims concerning the experience of dispossession of land and culture, and indigenous critique is defined by a range of different claims concerning how this condition of dispossession can best be responded to, by indigenous peoples themselves, as well as by anyone concerned with the present plights of indigenous peoples. There are, of course, multiple differences between indigenous peoples, […]

Alterity — A Category of Practice and Analysis

Preliminary Remarks

“Media exist because there is alterity” — so reads the first sentence of an introduction to media theories. [1] We need media to ensure that the position of alterity (the different, the Other) can be articulated, because “[a]lterity means an ‘other’ that initially denies access, that requires a third party to guarantee its conveyance, symbolization, preservation, transfer or communication.” [2] At first, a position of alterity seems to resist being made accessible. […]