The article theorizes surveillance and affect in the context of urban security policy. Surveillance, as commonly understood, provides the means to “know” a person or a population, and to a certain extent to control or manage her/him/it. Hence, surveillance and knowledge are intimately tied together. New modes of surveillance are, therefore, also contingent upon new ways of knowing. This article discusses surveillance and affect in urban politics and let these concepts communicate with empirical research on urban security. The starting point is empirical research in three European cities on changes in local level security policy between 2000 and 2010. In all three cases, significant changes in the governance networks’ approaches about security were observed. These changes coincided with new developments in the use of surveillance technologies to increase feelings of security. In this process “performative” surveillance became a central aspect of urban security policy, with particular focus on affects related to fear of crime, old age, and gender. The article theorizes the relationship between security, surveillance, and affect. The argument put forward is that new security policies were instances of the production of a discourse in which the pre-cognitive, instinctual affects were increasingly targeted. The article shows how proponents of the new type of security governance articulate policy goals focusing on fear, threat, and surveillance. It contributes to a small body of literature on urban security and emotions by showing how cultural differences play out when similar policy goals that target citizens on the level of pre-cognitive affects are implemented.
Palgrave Communications – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 9, 2018
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