The Inspection House: An Impertinent Field Guide to Modern Surveillance

Emily Horne and Tim Maly. Coach House Books (Consortium, U.S. dist.; PGC, Canadian dist.), $13.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-55245-301-8
Horne and Maly offer a provocative essay on surveillance in modern society. The Panopticon (from the Greek pan meaning all and optikon meaning seeing) is the concept for institutional building first proposed by Jeremy Bentham as an architectural design for prisons where prison guards could watch prisoners without being seen. The prisoners, unable to know when they were being watched would observe prison rules willingly in fear of punishment. Michel Foucault reintroduced the idea in his book Discipline and Punish where the panopticon is used to describe the effects of personalized surveillance for societal control in multiple institutions. Both treat buildings as machines of surveillance. In this book, the authors review seven contemporary sites, all examples of panoptic space where surveillance is blended to the existing architecture in order to control without being seen; using cameras, sensors, physical barriers and even our own cellular phones with often unintended consequences, such as allowing us to watch right back. Each example demonstrates how surveillance permeates every aspects of our lives and explores its effects, intended and unintended on both advocates and opponents. The book asks compelling questions about what we relinquish for the sake of safety. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-77056-389-6
Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-77056-388-9
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