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Spaces of surveillant simulation: new technologies, digital representations, and material geographies

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stephen Graham



In this paper I analyse some emerging socioeconomic applications of information and communications technologies and explore how they support technological systems which increasingly blend surveillance with simulation. In the first part of the paper I explore the technological shifts supporting blended 'surveillant simulation' and review how the emerging links between surveillance, simulation and material geographies have been addressed in recent debates on society, space and cultural change. In the second part I go on to explore four examples in detail where widepsread electronic surveillance systems are providing the captured data and images to produce electronic simulations of the 'real world' in near 'real time' - virtual banking, retailing and 'reality', crime control and electronic tagging, road transport telematics, and 'smart' utility systems. Attention is focused on how such simulations of the real world are then used to support new spatial practices based on the fine-grained allocation of goods and services, and intimate patterns of attempted social control, in real time, through the time-space fabric of material geographies. I conclude by analysing the implications of surveillant simulation for theories of technology, space and place, for social polarisation in cities, and for considering opportunities for resisting the spatial practices of dominant organisations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Graham S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Year: 1998

Volume: 16

Issue: 4

Pages: 483-504

Print publication date: 01/08/1998

Date deposited: 17/03/2010

ISSN (print): 0263-7758

ISSN (electronic): 1472-3433

Publisher: Pion


DOI: 10.1068/d160483


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