Cartographic Rationality and the Politics of Geosurveillance and Security
Author: Crampton, Jeremy W.
Source: Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 1 April 2003, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 135-148(14)
Abstract:This paper examines the prevalence of geosurveillance and cartographic rationality today by situating it in the age-old practice of governmental surveillance. I approach this question in a broadly Foucauldian historical framework. Foucault outlined a historical transition between a strictly disciplinary society that surveys and disciplines individuals and a "governmental" or biopolitical society that works at the level of a population and its distribution across territory. I argue that this governmental surveillance includes mapping and GIS, which, although they have taken different forms over time, have long been governmental technologies of control. I further argue that surveillance and security operate by establishing norms and statistical averages that allow assessments to be made about risk and threat. In order to illustrate the deployment of these cartographies of surveillance, and to examine their particular effects, I use a case study of crime mapping. I conclude that any assessment of mapping and GIS for surveillance and security uses must consider the genesis of cartographic rationality.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: April 1, 2003