Foucault News

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

Leman-Langlois, S. State Mass Spying as Illegalism
(2018) Critical Criminology, 26 (4), pp. 545-561.

DOI: 10.1007/s10612-018-9421-z

Periodic revelations about the workings of data interception, analysis and collection in Canada have each time prompted successive administrations to amend laws and regulations in order to calm public opinion. This has been referred to as “accountability through scandal” and has, for the most part, produced cosmetic changes rather than significant reform. Most of the practices and the ethos of the organizations have remained the same, setting the stage for the next scandal. This paper reviews the last scandal to befall the Canadian Security Establishment, caused by the Snowden revelations, and the subsequent political response. Approached with part of Foucault’s toolbox it becomes clear that the business of the state and state security requires a particular form of “management of illegalisms,” or differential treatment of rule-breaking, at the higher echelons of state power.

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