The Open UniversitySkip to content

Making surveillance messy: a conceptual discussion

Ball, Kirstie; Spiller, Keith; Dibb, Sally; Meadows, Maureen and Daniel, Elizabeth (2010). Making surveillance messy: a conceptual discussion. In: Fourth Biannual Surveillance and Society/SSN Conference, 13-15 Apr 2010, City University, London, UK.

Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


This paper introduces the concept of ‘messiness’ to theorise the dynamics, tensions, interactions and conflicts inherent in compliance, or otherwise, within surveillance regimes. Going beyond the surveillant assemblage (Haggerty & Ericson 2000), and highlighting other shortcomings in surveillance theory, we propose that ‘messiness’ has the potential to reveal much about surveillance-in-action from a local perspective. We illustrate our argument by exploring two contrasting government surveillance initiatives which gather consumer data from private sector organizations in the financial services and travel sectors: E-Borders and Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Terror Finance. More broadly, and drawing on Sewell and Barker (2006), we argue that organizations are rich and diverse sites for understanding the dynamics of compliance with surveillance.

Item Type: Conference Item
Copyright Holders: 2010 Surveillance Studies Network
Academic Unit/Department: Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)
Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) > Business
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Item ID: 25138
Depositing User: Elizabeth Daniel
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2010 18:19
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 10:51
Share this page:

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340