The case of DNA surveillanceEn case om DNA-overvågning
As we move into an age of ever more cameras and databases, monitoring and identity checks, surveillance theory paradoxically turns away from the totalitarian gazes of Big Brother and the Panopticon, looking for fresh theoretical resources. Scholars have put forth a plethora of interesting approaches and concepts such as social sorting (Lyon ed. 2003) and the surveillant assemblage (Haggerty & Ericson 2000), thus adding encouraging variety to a previously much more homogenous field. In the wake of this development, some have sought to bring the fruits of the successful actor-network-theory (ANT) into surveillance studies (Ball 2002, Adey 2004, Gad & Lauritsen 2009). In this paper, I further explore the potential of this connection by experimenting with Marilyn Strathern’s concept of the fractal (1991), which has been discussed in newer ANT literature (Law 2002; Law 2004; Jensen 2007). I argue that the concept fits nicely into the ANT-oriented situated surveillance approach (Gad & Lauritsen 2009), not because it explains surveillance, but because it brings empirical sensitivity to our efforts to understanding what comprises a surveillance actor, its network and its relations to those under surveillance. Based on fieldwork conducted in 2008 and 2011 in relation to my Master’s thesis and PhD respectively, I illustrate fractal concepts by describing the acts, actors and infrastructure that make up the ‘DNA surveillance’ conducted by the Danish police.
fraktalitet, aktør-netværk-teori, overvågning, DNA