Paper Title

States of Enclosure: An Intersectional Account of the Digital Enclosure

Panel

Information Systems, Workplace Issues, and Digital Enclosures

Location

Room 222, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

31-3-2016 3:30 PM

End Date

31-3-2016 4:45 PM

Keywords

digital enclosure, dataveillance, surveillance, scopophilia, function creep

Abstract

As theorized by Mark Andrejevic, the “digital enclosure” describes a surveillance system in which users rely on privatized communication networks, information technologies, and data storage facilities to access and manage an array of goods and services, wherein the terms of access includes the capture, monitoring, and commodification of personal information. The concept is used to trace the distribution of wealth and information and the processes that create, sustain and transform relationships between the consumer citizen, the corporation, and the state. The “digital enclosure” is a critically important and useful framework through which we can begin to understand the concurrence of neocapitalism, surveillance ethos, technological progress, and media interactivity. However, the concept as theorized only tangentially acknowledges, or altogether dismisses, 1) attention to the ways in which individuals (their bodies and identities) are subject to “enclosure” under different conditions of consent, intensity and effect in ways predicated on one’s particular social location—for instance, along dimensions including class, gender, race, ethnicity, nation, and sexuality—as well as in ways not predicated on the consumption or use of the media and technologies of a given enclosure, and 2) attention to how technologies (of the digital enclosure) are used in ways that do not articulate neatly to economic powers and imperatives, which should call into question, among other things, assumptions about the value(s) of information for all of the agents implied by its existence. Accordingly, this paper asks how a critical intersectional approach to the digital enclosure might enrich its theoretical purchase.

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Mar 31st, 3:30 PM Mar 31st, 4:45 PM

States of Enclosure: An Intersectional Account of the Digital Enclosure

Room 222, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

As theorized by Mark Andrejevic, the “digital enclosure” describes a surveillance system in which users rely on privatized communication networks, information technologies, and data storage facilities to access and manage an array of goods and services, wherein the terms of access includes the capture, monitoring, and commodification of personal information. The concept is used to trace the distribution of wealth and information and the processes that create, sustain and transform relationships between the consumer citizen, the corporation, and the state. The “digital enclosure” is a critically important and useful framework through which we can begin to understand the concurrence of neocapitalism, surveillance ethos, technological progress, and media interactivity. However, the concept as theorized only tangentially acknowledges, or altogether dismisses, 1) attention to the ways in which individuals (their bodies and identities) are subject to “enclosure” under different conditions of consent, intensity and effect in ways predicated on one’s particular social location—for instance, along dimensions including class, gender, race, ethnicity, nation, and sexuality—as well as in ways not predicated on the consumption or use of the media and technologies of a given enclosure, and 2) attention to how technologies (of the digital enclosure) are used in ways that do not articulate neatly to economic powers and imperatives, which should call into question, among other things, assumptions about the value(s) of information for all of the agents implied by its existence. Accordingly, this paper asks how a critical intersectional approach to the digital enclosure might enrich its theoretical purchase.