Taking ‘Resilience’ Seriously: Exploring its Implications in the Surveillance Context


Session: PARALLEL SESSION 4Resilence

Date and time: 25th April 2014. (09:15‐10:45)

Authors: Charles Raab, Richard Jones and Ivan Szekely

Taking ‘Resilience’ Seriously: Exploring its Implications in the Surveillance Context

‘Resilience’ is a fashionable but contested term in social, governmental and business discourse. It is normally used without defining its properties or how it relates to other terms that characterise processes or states of being. In the face of man-made and natural disasters, it normally has positive connotations, and both individual and collective frames of reference. This paper explores the general concept of ‘resilience’ on the plane of abstract analysis, and then uses it specifically in the context of responses to surveillance. It does this by developing new models and by extending existing ones in a more precise manner that can describe resilient processes as they unfold over time and in anticipation of, or reaction to, adversities of different kinds and severity. Societies deploy resilient strategies against shocks or stresses that are brought about by terrorism, crime, and other causes. These strategies may include surveillance, a phenomenon that – as a source of adversity itself – may paradoxically invite resilient activity whether precautionary or in mitigation of the harms caused by surveillance. This paper thus focuses upon surveillance as a specific focus for developing and applying its conceptual analysis and modelling of situations, and for evaluating contemporary developments in ‘surveillance societies’.

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