Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Andrew Hope, Governmentality and the ‘selling’ of school surveillance devices, The Sociological Review. Volume 63, Issue 4, pages 840–857, November 2015

DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.12279

In late modernity there has been a massive growth in ‘new’ surveillance devices situated within schools. This paper explores the reasons behind this proliferation, considering the role of key protagonists and the promises made regarding these technologies. It is suggested that there is strong connection between notions of neoliberal governmentality (Foucault, 2008; Gane, 2012) and arguments relating to increased security, improved efficiency, the desirability of techno-surveillance devices and desensitization to pervasive monitoring. In particular, it is maintained that the devolution of state power, the marketization of education, increased responsibilization and the nature of observation in the viewer society all help to explain the emergence of ‘surveillance schools’. It is concluded that failure to recognize these new dynamics may result in schools quietly, subtly becoming experimental labs and then junkyards for our surveillance futures.


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