Organization, surveillance and the body: towards a politics of resistance

Ball, Kirstie (2005). Organization, surveillance and the body: towards a politics of resistance. Organization, 12(1) pp. 89–108.



This paper examines the problematic of embodied resistance to biometric surveillance practices. After establishing that surveillance is becoming more widespread, the paper draws on the multidisciplinary areas of organization theory, surveillance theory, and body and feminist sociology. It is argued that current theoretical resources available to organization theorists are inadequate for analysing resistance to these technologies. After an investigation of recent developments in the sociology of the body and in surveillance theory, resistance is conceptualized at the interface of bodies and technologies, and is antagonistic towards categorizations and fixities produced by biometrics. A number of resistance strategies are distilled, using feminist and post-structuralist sociology. Although it is acknowledged that the paper’s arguments do not address questions of agency and an ethics of the self, resistance arguments that challenge the totalizing impulse of surveillance practice are welcome in the face of government and private sector rhetoric about its desirability.

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