robertogreco + panopticon   19

Children, Learning, and the Evaluative Gaze of School — Carol Black
"That's when I understood: when you watch a child who is focused on learning, and you let them know you’re watching, and you let them know your opinion as though your opinion matters, you just took that thing away from them. You just made it yours. Your smell is all over it now.

The evaluative gaze does the greatest harm, of course, to the kids who live under a biased eye; the ones who enter school with a test score or a disciplinary record or a skin color that shades the gaze against them. Once an assessment of a child's ability has been made, positive or negative, that child will feel it; if you think you can conceal it from them, you're wrong. They know. They always know. Studies have shown that even lab rats learn more slowly if their researchers believe that they aren't smart rats. The kids who grow up under a negative gaze, the ones who day after day, year after year, feel themselves appraised and found wanting –– these kids pay the greatest price, their psyches permanently damaged by it, their futures irrevocably harmed. (The fact that our appraisals are shown again and again to be wrong never seems to discourage us from making them.) But even the kids who get the good grades, the high scores, the perfect "10's" –– even they are subtly blighted by it. They've won the prize, and lost their power.

Why is it clear to us that it's degrading and objectifying to measure and rank a girl’s physical body on a numeric scale, but we think it’s perfectly okay to measure and rank her mind that way?

Over the years I've watched the many ways that children try to cope with the evaluative gaze of school. (The gaze, of course, can come from parents, too; just ask my kids.) Some children eagerly display themselves for it; some try to make themselves invisible to it. They fight, they flee, they freeze; like prey animals they let their bodies go limp and passive before it. Some defy it by laughing in its face, by acting up, clowning around, refusing to attend or engage, refusing to try so you can never say they failed. Some master the art of holding back that last 10%, of giving just enough of themselves to "succeed," but holding back enough that the gaze can't define them (they don't yet know that this strategy will define and limit their lives.) Some make themselves sick trying to meet or exceed the "standards" that it sets for them. Some simply vanish into those standards until they don't know who they would have been had the standards not been set.

But the power of the gaze goes beyond the numbers and letters used to quantify it. It exists in looks and tones and body language, in words and in the spaces between words. It is a way of looking at another human being, of confronting another human life; it is a philosophical stance, an emotional stance, a political stance, an exercise of power. As philosopher Martin Buber might have put it, the stance of true relationship says to the other, "I–Thou;" the evaluative gaze says "I–It." It says, "I am the subject; you are the object. I know what you are, I know what you should be, I know what 'standards' you must meet." It is a god-like stance, which is actually a big deal even if you think you are a fair and friendly god.

The evaluative gaze of school is so constant a presence, so all-pervasive an eye, that many people have come to believe that children would actually not grow and develop without it. They believe that without their "feedback," without their constant "assessment," a child's development would literally slow or even stop. They believe that children would not learn from the things they experience and do and see and hear and make and read and imagine unless they have an adult to "assess" them (or unless the adult teaches them to "self-assess," which generally means teaching them to internalize the adult gaze.) For people whose experience is with children inside the school system, it may seem self-evident that this is true. For people whose experience is with children outside the school system, it may seem like believing that an acorn would not grow into an oak tree unless you measure it and give it your opinion. Because an oak tree does not actually require your opinion, and believe it or not, 90% of the time, neither does a child.

A pot boils whether you watch it or not. It just needs water and fire.

There are ever-increasing numbers of people raising their kids outside this Panopticon of constant evaluation and measurement and feedback, and what they find is simply this: they grow and develop very much like other kids. Like other kids, they don't all conform to the same "standards;" like other kids, they are individual and diverse. Like other kids, they have triumphs, and struggles, and doldrums, and passions, and frustrations, and joys. "Assessment," or the lack of it, seems to have remarkably little to do with it. Because what an oak tree actually needs is not your opinion but soil and water and light and air, and what a child needs is love and stories and tools and conversation and support and guidance and access to nature and culture and the world. If a kid asks for your feedback, by all means you can give it; it would be impolite not to. But what we should be measuring and comparing is not our children but the quality of the learning environments we provide for them. "
carolblack  canon  unschooling  deschooling  evaluation  assessment  schools  schooling  schooliness  cv  petergray  judgement  writing  art  sfsh  rubrics  children  childhood  learning  howwelearn  education  discipline  coercion  rabindranathtagore  panopticon  observation  teaching  teachers  power  resistance  surveillance  martinbuber  gender  race  racism  measurement  comparison  praise  rewards  grades  grading  2018 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Fellow Prisoners – Guernica
"The best way to understand the world, writes Berger, is not as a metaphorical prison but a literal one. And what better way to inspire solidarity than seeing ourselves (them) as fellow prisoners?"



"The wonderful American poet Adrienne Rich pointed out in a recent lecture about poetry that “this year, a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics finds that one out of every 136 residents of the United States is behind bars—many in jails, unconvicted.”

In the same lecture she quoted the Greek poet Yannis Ritsos:

In the field the last swallow had lingered late,

balancing in the air like a black ribbon on the sleeve

of autumn.

Nothing else remained. Only the burned houses

smouldering still.

***

I picked up the phone and knew immediately it was an unexpected call from you, speaking from your flat in the Via Paolo Sarpi. (Two days after the election results and Berlusconi’s comeback.) The speed with which we identify a familiar voice coming out of the blue is comforting, but also somewhat mysterious. Because the measures, the units we use in calculating the clear distinction that exists between one voice and another, are unformulated and nameless. They don’t have a code. These days more and more is encoded.

So I wonder whether there aren’t other measures, equally uncoded yet precise, by which we calculate other givens. For example, the amount of circumstantial freedom existing in a certain situation, its extent and its strict limits. Prisoners become experts at this. They develop a particular sensitivity towards liberty, not as a principle, but as a granular substance. They spot fragments of liberty almost immediately whenever they occur.

***

On an ordinary day, when nothing is happening and the crises announced hourly are the old familiar ones—and the politicians are declaring yet again that without them there would be catastrophe—people as they pass one another exchange glances, and some of their glances check whether the others are envisaging the same thing when they say to themselves; so this is life!

Often they are envisaging the same thing and in this primary sharing there is a kind of solidarity before anything further has been said or discussed.

I’m searching for words to describe the period of history we’re living through. To say it’s unprecedented means little because all periods were unprecedented since history was first discovered.

I’m not searching for a complex definition—there are a number of thinkers, such as Zygmunt Bauman, who have taken on this essential task. I’m looking for nothing more than a figurative image to serve as a landmark. Landmarks don’t fully explain themselves, but they offer a reference point that can be shared. In this they are like the tacit assumptions contained in popular proverbs. Without landmarks there is the great human risk of turning in circles.

***

The landmark I’ve found is that of prison. Nothing less. Across the planet we are living in a prison.

The word we, when printed or pronounced on screens, has become suspect, for it’s continually used by those with power in the demagogic claim that they are also speaking for those who are denied power. Let’s talk of ourselves as they. They are living in a prison.

What kind of prison? How is it constructed? Where is it situated? Or am I only using the word as a figure of speech?

No, it’s not a metaphor, the imprisonment is real, but to describe it one has to think historically.

Michel Foucault has graphically shown how the penitentiary was a late eighteenth-, early nineteenth-century invention closely linked to industrial production, its factories and its utilitarian philosophy. Earlier, there were jails that were extensions of the cage and the dungeon. What distinguished the penitentiary is the number of prisoners it can pack in—and the fact that all of them are under continuous surveillance thanks to the model of the Pantopticon, as conceived by Jeremy Bentham, who introduced the principle of accountancy into ethics.

Accountancy demands that every transaction be noted. Hence the penitentiary’s circular walls with the cells arranged around the screw’s watchtower at the center. Bentham, who was John Stuart Mill’s tutor at the beginning of the nineteenth century, was the principal utilitarian apologist for industrial capitalism.

Today in the era of globalization, the world is dominated by financial, not industrial, capital, and the dogmas defining criminality and the logics of imprisonment have changed radically. Penitentiaries still exist and more and more are being built. But prison walls now serve a different purpose. What constitutes an incarceration area has been transformed.

***

Twenty years ago, Nella Bielski and I wrote A Question of Geography, a play about the Gulag. In act two, a zek (a political prisoner) talks to a boy who has just arrived about choice, about the limits of what can be chosen in a labor camp: When you drag yourself back after a day’s work in the taiga, when you are marched back, half dead with fatigue and hunger, you are given your ration of soup and bread. About the soup you have no choice—it has to be eaten whilst it’s hot, or whilst it’s at least warm. About the four hundred grams of bread you have choice. For instance, you can cut it into three little bits: one to eat now with the soup, one to suck in the mouth before going to sleep in your bunk, and the third to keep until next morning at ten, when you’re working in the taiga and the emptiness in your stomach feels like a stone.

You empty a wheelbarrow full of rock. About pushing the barrow to the dump you have no choice. Now it’s empty you have a choice. You can walk your barrow back just like you came, or—if you’re clever, and survival makes you clever—you push it back like this, almost upright. If you choose the second way you give your shoulders a rest. If you are a zek and you become a team leader, you have the choice of playing at being a screw, or of never forgetting that you are a zek.

The Gulag no longer exists. Millions work, however, under conditions that are not very different. What has changed is the forensic logic applied to workers and criminals.

During the Gulag, political prisoners, categorized as criminals, were reduced to slave-laborers. Today millions of brutally exploited workers are being reduced to the status of criminals.

The Gulag equation “criminal = slave laborer” has been rewritten by neoliberalism to become “worker = hidden criminal.” The whole drama of global migration is expressed in this new formula; those who work are latent criminals. When accused, they are found guilty of trying at all costs to survive.

Over six million Mexican women and men work in the U.S. without papers and are consequently illegal. A concrete wall of over one thousand kilometers and a “virtual” wall of eighteen hundred watchtowers were planned along the frontier between the U.S. and Mexico, although the projects have recently been scrapped. Ways around them—though all of them dangerous—will of course be found.

Between industrial capitalism, dependent on manufacture and factories, and financial capitalism, dependent on free-market speculation and front office traders, the incarceration area has changed. Speculative financial transactions add up to, each day, $1,300 billion, fifty times more than the sum of the commercial exchanges. The prison is now as large as the planet and its allotted zones can vary and can be termed worksite, refugee camp, shopping mall, periphery, ghetto, office block, favela, suburb. What is essential is that those incarcerated in these zones are fellow prisoners.

***

It’s the first week in May and on the hillsides and mountains, along the avenues and around the gates in the northern hemisphere, the leaves of most of the trees are coming out. Not only are all their different varieties of green still distinct, people also have the impression that each single leaf is distinct, and so they are confronting billions—no, not billions (the word has been corrupted by dollars), they are confronting an infinite multitude of new leaves.

For prisoners, small visible signs of nature’s continuity have always been, and still are, a covert encouragement.

***

Today the purpose of most prison walls (concrete, electronic, patrolled, or interrogatory) is not to keep prisoners in and correct them, but to keep prisoners out and exclude them.

Most of the excluded are anonymous—hence the obsession of all security forces with identity. They are also numberless, for two reasons. First because their numbers fluctuate; every famine, natural disaster and military intervention (now called policing) either diminishes or increases their multitude. And secondly, because to assess their number is to confront the fact that they constitute most of those living on the surface of the earth—and to acknowledge this is to plummet into absolute absurdity.

***

Have you noticed small commodities are increasingly difficult to remove from their packaging? Something similar has happened with the lives of the gainfully employed. Those who have legal employment and are not poor are living in a very reduced space that allows them fewer and fewer choices—except the continual binary choice between obedience and disobedience. Their working hours, their place of residence, their past skills and experience, their health, the future of their children, everything outside their function as employees has to take a small second place beside the unforseeable and vast demands of liquid profit. Furthermore, the rigidity of this house rule is called flexibility. In prison, words get turned upside down.

The alarming pressure of high-grade working conditions has obliged the courts in Japan to recognize and define a new coroners’ category of “death by overwork.”

No other system, the gainfully employed are told, is … [more]
johnberger  prisoners  solidarity  metaphor  2011  adriennerich  yannisritsos  zygmuntbauman  imprisonment  panopticon  jeremybentham  capitalism  nellabielski  power  tyranny  hanstietmeyer  cyberspace  misinformation  rumors  commentary  humankind 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Privacy Concerns for ClassDojo and Other Tracking Apps for Schoolchildren - The New York Times
"One morning in mid-October, Mr. Fletcher walked to the front of the classroom where an interactive white board displayed ClassDojo, a behavior-tracking app that lets teachers award points or subtract them based on a student’s conduct. On the board was a virtual classroom showing each student’s name, a cartoon avatar and the student’s scores so far that week.

“I’m going to have to take a point for no math homework,” Mr. Fletcher said to a blond boy in a striped shirt and then clicked on the boy’s avatar, a googly-eyed green monster, and subtracted a point.

The program emitted a disappointed pong sound, audible to the whole class — and sent a notice to the child’s parents if they had signed up for an account on the service."
children  data  panopticon  surveillance  edtech  classdojo  2016  teaching  education  schools  privacy  via:lukeneff 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Surveillance and Care | Snakes and Ladders
"Another day, another story about the legal trouble you can expect if you’re a free-range parent. This matters, a lot, and what’s at stake needs to be made clear.

1) The parents here are accused by the state of “child neglect,” but what they are doing is the opposite of neglect — it is thoughtful, intentional training of their children for responsible adulthood. They instructed their children with care; the children practiced responsible freedom before being fully entrusted with it. And then the state intervened before the children could discover the satisfaction of exercising their freedom well.

2) What’s happening here is fundamentally simple: the surveillance state enforcing surveillance as the normative form of care. The state cannot teach its citizens, because it has no idea what to teach; it can only place them under observation. Perfect observation — panopticism — then becomes its telos, which is justifies and universalizes by imposing a responsibility to surveil on the very citizens already being surveilled. The state’s commandment to parents: Do as I do.

3) By enforcing surveillance as the normative form of care, the state effectively erases the significance of all other forms of care. Parents might teach their children nothing of value, no moral standards, no self-discipline, no compassion for others — but as long as those children are incessantly observed, then according to the state’s standards the parents of those children are good parents. And they are good because they are training their children to accept a lifetime of passive acceptance of surveillance. The Marxist theorist Louis Althusser used to speak of the ways that culture can be transformed into an “ideological state apparatus” — that’s what our society wants to do to parenthood."
panopticon  surveillance  parenting  freerangeparenting  government  alanjacobs  2015  cps  freedom  control  parenthood  children  ethics  morality  culture  ideology  louisalthusser  observation  care  caring  althusser 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Who's the Boss? | Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
"
The Elf on the Shelf® is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts an elf and gives it a name, the elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day's adventures. Each morning, the elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun.

After several years of observing parents and teachers sharing photos of Elf on the Shelf dolls in various (sometimes compromising!) poses on social media, our curiosity led us to critically examine this cultural phenomenon.

The Elf on the Shelf is a wildly popular, Christmas-themed book that comes with a doll to reinforce the story in home and school settings. The purpose of this article is to explore theoretical and conceptual concerns about the popularity and widespread educational use of The Elf on the Shelf in light of the contemporary literature on play and panoptic surveillance.

Based on a family Christmas tradition in their home, retired teacher Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell self-published an illustrated children’s book called The Elf on the Shelf in 2005 and distributed it in the U.S. By 2013, they sold over 6 million copies of their book, packaged with an elf doll. Evidence of its mark as an icon of North American culture includes a float in the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, coverage on NBC’s Today show, and a television special on CBS, two Elf-themed Saturday Night Live sketches in 2012 and 2013, and being named one of Amazon’s top 10 toys of 2012.

The illustrated book enclosed with each Elf on the Shelf doll explains that elves are assigned to homes (or sometimes classrooms) with the explicit charge of observing children's actions all day on behalf of Santa Claus, who is referred to as “the boss”. These industrious elves perched high on shelves are managers of Santa’s “naughty” and “nice” lists with a central aim of ensuring that the children who have adopted them remain on the “nice” list. As the story goes, at night the elves step away from their shelves to return to the North Pole so they can report their observations to Santa Claus. According to The Elf on the Shelf website, there are two basic rules that children must know about having an elf:
First, an elf cannot be touched; Christmas magic is very fragile and if an elf is touched it may lose that magic and be unable to fly back to the North Pole. Second, an elf cannot speak or move while anyone in the house is awake! An elf's job is to watch and listen.

Elf on the Shelf teacher resources are designed with American curriculum standards in mind. The website encourages teachers to register for The Elf on the Shelf® “Teacher Resource Center” for free kindergarten to grade 5 lesson plans and classroom resources that support the Common Core State Standards which teachers in most of the 50 states are required to follow.

The immense impact of play in how children make sense of their world, their place in society, and their identity, and what is right and wrong has been well-documented. Play comes in a variety of forms and involves many different types of activities; children may role-play and interact with other people, or they may interact with things (toys or other objects), or a combination of both. In the course of play, children practice all sorts of social and cognitive activities, such as exercising self-control, testing and developing what they already know, cooperating and socializing, symbolizing and/or using objects in ways that are meaningful and exciting to them.

When children enter the play world of The Elf on the Shelf, they accept a series of practices and rules associated with the larger story. This, of course, is not unique to The Elf on the Shelf. Many children’s games, including board games and video games, require children to participate while following a prescribed set of rules. The difference, however, is that in other games, the child role-plays a character, or the child imagines herself within a play-world of the game, but the role play does not enter the child’s real world as part of the game. As well, in most games, the time of play is delineated (while the game goes on), and the play to which the rules apply typically does not overlap with the child’s real world.

Elf on the Shelf presents a unique (and prescriptive) form of play that blurs the distinction between play time and real life. Children who participate in play with The Elf on the Shelf doll have to contend with rules at all times during the day: they may not touch the doll, and they must accept that the doll watches them at all times with the purpose of reporting to Santa Claus. This is different from more conventional play with dolls, where children create play-worlds born of their imagination, moving dolls and determining interactions with other people and other dolls. Rather, the hands-off “play” demanded by the elf is limited to finding (but not touching!) The Elf on the Shelf every morning, and acquiescing to surveillance during waking hours under the elf’s watchful eye. The Elf on the Shelf controls all parameters of play, who can do and touch what, and ultimately attempts to dictate the child’s behavior outside of time used for play.

The gaze of the elf on the child’s real world (as opposed to play world) resonates with the purpose of the panopticon, based on Jeremy Bentham’s 18th century design for a model prison (a central tower in a circular structure, surrounded by cells). Backlighting in the central tower made it impossible for prisoners to discern whether or not they were being watched. Michel Foucault (1979) saw the panopticon as a perfect symbol of modern surveillance societies: a metaphor for discipline operating through a variety of social and institutional apparatuses that leave the individual on guard, never certain if she is actually being watched, but knowing structures are in place to monitor her movements at all times.

This was illustrated by Huffington Post writer Wendy Bradford who reported that her children insist on ringing the doorbell before entering their home to make sure that their Elf on the Shelf doll, “Chippey,” is prepared for their arrival, thus underscoring their awareness (and acceptance) of the surveillance apparatus. Lewis reminisced about the “good old days” in a tongue-in cheek blog about The Elf on the Shelf phenomenon while simultaneously reinforcing the surveillance functions of the toy:

I long for the days when Santa's helpers were mystical, magical, mysterious and unseen little people and not some overpriced brand. But, the times they are a-changing. If I must participate in this new "tradition," I choose to let the elf serve its purpose -- to set on a shelf and encourage my children to be "nice”… Parents need all the help they can get. Let your elf help you.

Under normal circumstances, children's behaviour (i.e., what is "naughty" and what is "nice") is situated in social contexts and mediated by human beings (peers, parents, and teachers) where the child conceptualizes actions and emotions in relation to other people and how they feel.

Through play, children become aware about others’ perspectives: in other words, they cultivate understandings about social relationships. The Elf on the Shelf essentially teaches the child to accept an external form of non-familial surveillance in the home when the elf becomes the source of power and judgment, based on a set of rules attributable to Santa Claus. Children potentially cater to The Elf on the Shelf as the “other,” rather than engaging in and honing understandings of social relationships with peers, parents, teachers and “real life” others.

What is troubling is what The Elf on the Shelf represents and normalizes: anecdotal evidence reveals that children perform an identity that is not only for caretakers, but for an external authority (The Elf on the Shelf), similar to the dynamic between citizen and authority in the context of the surveillance state. Further to this, The Elf on the Shelf website offers teacher resources, integrating into both home and school not only the brand but also tacit acceptance of being monitored and always being on one’s best behaviour--without question.

By inviting The Elf on the Shelf simultaneously into their play-world and real lives, children are taught to accept or even seek out external observation of their actions outside of their caregivers and familial structures. Broadly speaking, The Elf on the Shelf serves functions that are aligned to the official functions of the panopticon. In doing so, it contributes to the shaping of children as governable subjects.

While the elf may be part of a pre-Christmas game and might help manage children’s behaviors in the weeks leading up to the holiday, it also sets children up for dangerous, uncritical acceptance of power structures. Certainly, teachers and parents can incorporate critical pedagogies alongside the elf’s presence in children’s play worlds and social lives in “teachable moments” that cultivate children’s ability to identify, question, and resist power. How do children conceptualize being watched; do they perceive themselves to be engaging in performance, or is performativity a natural response to the elf’s presence.

Although The Elf on the Shelf has received positive media attention and has been embraced by millions of parents and teachers, it nevertheless represents something disturbing and raises an important question. When parents and teachers bring The Elf on the Shelf into homes and classrooms, are they preparing a generation of children to accept, not question, increasingly intrusive (albeit whimsically packaged) modes of surveillance?
elfontheshelf  panopticon  surveillance  children  parenting  schools  education  lauraelizabethpinto  identity  power  control  christmas  2014  behavior  selenanemorin  governance 
december 2014 by robertogreco
The Inspection House | Coach House Books
"The Inspection House: An Impertinent Field Guide to Modern Surveillance
By Emily Horne and Tim Maly

In 1787, British philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham conceived of the panopticon, a ring of cells observed by a central watchtower, as a labor-saving device for those in authority. While Bentham's design was ostensibly for a prison, he believed that any number of places that require supervision—factories, poorhouses, hospitals, and schools—would benefit from such a design. The French philosopher Michel Foucault took Bentham at his word. In his groundbreaking 1975 study, Discipline and Punish, the panopticon became a metaphor to describe the creeping effects of personalized surveillance as a means for ever-finer mechanisms of control..

Forty years later, the available tools of scrutiny, supervision, and discipline are far more capable and insidious than Foucault dreamed, and yet less effective than Bentham hoped. Shopping malls, container ports, terrorist holding cells, and social networks all bristle with cameras, sensors, and trackers. But, crucially, they are also rife with resistance and prime opportunities for revolution. The Inspection House is a tour through several of these sites—from Guantánamo Bay to the Occupy Oakland camp and the authors' own mobile devices—providing a stark, vivid portrait of our contemporary surveillance state and its opponents."
history  books  toread  timmaly  emilyhorne  technology  surveillance  panopticon  2014 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Drones, Sound, and Super-Panoptic Surveillance » Cyborgology
"Drones “drone” by creating a consistent psychological timbre or pitch–terror. Or rather, frequent, repeated Predator drone strikes have struck a drone in the psyches of targeted populations. As Hussain puts it,
The buzz of a distant propeller is a constant reminder of imminent death…The same prolonged hovering that produces the terrifying buzzing here adds oversight to sight, combining surveillance with legal scrutiny.


This droning timbre/pitch of terror resembles what Foucaultians might call the internalized (or panoptic) gaze–instead of needing to be watched by police, we police ourselves.



"The gaze and the drone are absolutely not opposed or mutually exclusive; more often than not, they’re deeply and complexly implicated in one another. That’s why super-panoptic surveillance is above or on top of regular old visual panopticism; it’s an additional layer, not a replacement."



"The Gaze is alienating—it desensitizes us to sound and in that very same set of gestures, to the humanity, the moral personhood, and the suffering of those whom the US drones. Because we can’t hear them, these targets “seem unalive, even before they are killed.” The Gaze alienates “us” (the US) from our receptivity to others. Hussain’s article implies that sound is a/the remedy to imperialist alienation, which manifests here as the separation of sight from sound. If only “we”—the imperialist drone operators—could hear what our victims hear, then we wouldn’t be so quick to dehumanize them.***

It is certainly true that visual technologies and techniques developed cooperatively with imperialism. But so have sonic ones. My concept of “Droning” shows that sound is not necessarily a remedy to imperialist control. It’s not just vision that can be “myopic” (to use one of Hussain’s terms)–hearing can be similarly structured by ignorance. It structures ignorance in different forms and with different methods. So, for example, instead of alienation, Droning rivets you to material conditions, affects, and sensations that compel you to behave in specific ways, and not in others. So riveted, you might think and feel like “there is no alternative,” to use a catchphrase often associated with neoliberal ideology.

I’m trying to push back against tendencies to reduce sound to sight (or rather, sight’s opposite), and to conflate superpanoptic surveillance–what I call “Droning”–with more conventional panopticism, a.k.a. “Gazing.” It’s important to consider the sonic dimensions of drone tech and drone practices. And de-centering vision and sight means we also have to de-center “the Gaze” as a conceptual framework. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish with this concept of “Droning”."
aircraft  drones  sound  surveillance  droneproject  2013  gaze  gazetheory  panopticon  robinjames 
november 2013 by robertogreco
NSA-Proof Your Email! Consider your Man Card Re-Issued. Never be Afraid Again. — Weird Future — Medium
"The watchword is self-reliance. They’re coming to take what’s yours, so you’d better be ready. Federate your email, buy a generator, make sure you’ve got good locks, and for God’s sake, carry a handgun. There are monsters in the streets and some idiot is arming them.

But how to defend against the errors of the masses unwilling to take care of themselves? Every message in my outbox is in some fool’s inbox; plain as day, as if I’d sent it straight to PRISM myself. NSA-proof? Not without a massive shift of collective action undertaken by a society of people who’ve spent the past decade or so dumping as many photos, feelings, and fantasies online as time and bandwidth would allow. Why not? I certainly did. It’s nice to have friends."



"These are, after all, ecological problems. And when you find yourself in a flood zone, or a wildfire warning area, or tornado country, self-reliance only goes so far. No amount of preparation will protect you if you find yourself staring at an onrushing column of smoke and all your neighbours built their houses with kindling. No amount of home renovation will fix the water if, somewhere upriver, some monster with an obligation to protect shareholder interests is filling the streams with mercury.

Even the Unabomber, holed up in his cabin in remotest Montana, couldn’t help but see passenger jets criss-crossing the sky."



"“There’s a second half to the prison’s design and no one seems to remember this. The second half is that the prisoners are isolated from one another. If they could coordinate, those few lonely bastards in the tower wouldn’t stand a chance. But their clients are kept separated and when the hammer comes down on one of them, all the rest can’t help but think ‘at least it wasn’t me’.”

She was close now, uncomfortably so. The urge to flee was overwhelming.

“That’s where the real power of the panopticon lies. It is spread around the circumference in the cell of every inmate. It’s like Disney. ‘Don’t worry little Dumbo, the power of surveillance was in you all along.’

“But how are you advising one another, in the face of our mounting influence? You’re writing Instructables about how to mask your personal digital fingerprint and telling yourselves that our victims had it coming because they didn’t take basic steps.

“So while we’re consolidating our strength, you idiots are all coaching one another into joint construction of solitary confinement.”"



"My hosts found me hours later in the marina’s bar, working my way through the fourth in a series of tall drinks with plenty of ice.

I said nothing about my encounter in the showroom. What was there to tell? That I’d had a conversation with my own paranoid delusions? That the security state had personified itself to lecture me about a french philosopher who’d died in 1984?

No. That was craziness, best left to the memory banks. The security state isn’t a person, it’s people. There’s so many of them and they’ve been given leave to take so many liberties that they’ve managed to become the environment. Like a demented terraforming project, they’re sucking down our communications and we’re breathing their air.

This is an ecological disaster and it demands an ecological response. We shouldn’t be protecting ourselves. We should be protecting each other.

My hosts were in fine spirits. The shopping trip had been a success and the boxes they had in tow carried the promise of excellent reclining. Good reclining is crucial in cottage country."
civics  security  privacy  timmaly  2013  canon  community  activism  collectivism  nsa  edwardsnowden  surveillance  internet  web  online  storytelling  panopticon  indivisualism  self-reliance 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Why we must remember to delete – and forget – in the digital age | Technology | The Guardian
"Mayer-Schönberger envisages that each digital camera could have a built-in process to select expiration dates for a photo. Before taking a picture the camera would send out "picture requests" to what he calls "permission devices" (about the size of a key fob that, perhaps, might dangle from our necks) that respond to the request with the owner's preferred expiration date. That date could range from zero to three years to 100 years from now (an option reserved for really memorable pictures).

He concedes expiration dates are no overall solution to the problem, but what he likes about them is that they make us think about the value of forgetting and, also, that they involve negotiation rather than simply imposing a technical solution to a technical problem. There are alternatives, such as turning your back on the digital age. "I don't like digital abstinence. I want us to embrace participation in digital culture and global networks. Just not at any cost.""
jonathanzittrain  reputationbankruptcy  reputation  streetview  self-censorship  society  foucault  panopticon  jeremybentham  hgwells  worldbrain  expirationdates  expiration  data  viktormayer-schönberger  stuartjeffriess  time  forgetting  2011  facebook  flickr  google  drop.io  deleting  delete  information  culture  technology  psychology  socialmedia  privacy  memory  michelfoucault 
september 2012 by robertogreco
apophenia: Facebook's move ain't about changes in privacy norms
"Privacy isn't a technological binary that you turn off and on. Privacy is about having control of a situation. It's about controlling what information flows where and adjusting measures of trust when things flow in unexpected ways. It's about creating certainty so that we can act appropriately. People still care about privacy because they care about control. Sure, many teens repeatedly tell me "public by default, private when necessary" but this doesn't suggest that privacy is declining; it suggests that publicity has value and, more importantly, that folks are very conscious about when something is private and want it to remain so. When the default is private, you have to think about making something public. When the default is public, you become very aware of privacy. And thus, I would suspect, people are more conscious of privacy now than ever. Because not everyone wants to share everything to everyone else all the time."
danahboyd  socialnetworking  21stcenturyskills  privacy  socialmedia  facebook  control  social  panopticon  future  trust  internet 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Last night on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
"we've always, historically lived with the idea of the omniscient observer. Post the death of god, we've had to construct a technological society to make real this belief: mass surveillance and sharing. Privacy is a blip."
privacy  history  religion  surveillance  society  panopticon  cctv  technology  mattwebb  belief  omniscience  observation  psychology 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Salon.com News | Exposing Bush's historic abuse of power
"Salon has uncovered new evidence of post-9/11 spying on Americans. Obtained documents point to a potential investigation of the White House that could rival Watergate."
via:regine  politics  law  surveillance  power  crime  database  corruption  datamining  abuse  georgewbush  panopticon  NSA 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Albrechtslund - Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance
"challenge conventional understandings of surveillance that often focus on control & disempowerment. In context of online social networking, surveillance is something potentially empowering, subjectivity building and even playful...participatory surveilla
socialnetworks  socialnetworking  socialmedia  social  network  networking  panopticon  surveillance  privacy  identity  participatory  performance  participation  collaboration  trends  internet 
april 2008 by robertogreco
The Anonymity Experiment | Popular Science
"During a week of attempting to cloak every aspect of daily life, our correspondent found that in an information age, leaving no trace is nearly impossible"
anonymity  culture  privacy  security  technology  society  panopticon  law  internet 
february 2008 by robertogreco
pasta and vinegar » Selective disConnectvity
"I take jokes such as Isolatr very seriously: our world values connection so much that it’s not only connection to devices but also connections to people that are important. The word “serendipity” is now everywhere, what’s next: a renaissance of the misanthropes?"
technology  theory  mobile  networks  panopticon  convergence  culture  surveillance  socialnetworks  connectivity  community  communication  howardrheingold  media  wifi  socialnetworking  privacy  social  forgetting  digital  balance  slow  disconnectivity 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Stichting Kunst en Openbare Ruimte - Howard Rheingold and Eric Kluitenberg, Mindful Disconnection: Counterpowering the Panopticon from the Inside
"media experts Howard Rheingold and Eric Kluitenberg ask us to consider if unquestioned connectivity – the drive to connect everything to everything, and everyone to everyone by means of electronic media – is necessarily a good thing."

[Waybacked: http://web.archive.org/web/20130122023701/http://classic.skor.nl/article-2887-en.html ]
technology  theory  mobile  networks  panopticon  convergence  culture  surveillance  socialnetworks  connectivity  community  communication  howardrheingold  media  wifi  socialnetworking  privacy  social  forgetting  digital  balance  slow  diconnectivity 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Snitchtown - Forbes.com
"universal surveillance is seen as the universal solution to all urban ills. But the truth is that ubiquitous cameras only serve to violate the social contract that makes cities work."
surveillance  sou  sousveillance  security  rfid  privacy  politics  panopticon  urbanism  urban  future  design  cities  cctv  corydoctorow  london  us  history  public  citizenship  space  uk 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Escaping the data panopticon: Prof says computers must learn to "forget"
"Afraid how our words and actions may be perceived years later and taken out of context, the lack of forgetting may prompt us to speak less freely and openly."
ai  computers  culture  data  fear  future  futurism  information  internet  law  life  memory  mind  philosophy  privacy  social  socialsoftware  society  sociology  technology  panopticon 
may 2007 by robertogreco

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