Keynote Speaker: Jef Huysmans

Fracturing politics. Towards a democratic analytics of (post-)surveillance societies

The lecture asks if the main repertoires of democratic critique of surveillance remain an adequate basis for a political analysis of modes of monitoring, registering, constructing, and circulating data and data subjects that are highly mobile, distributed and tied into daily practices. After introducing the distinction between panoptic surveillance and extitutional surveillance, the lecture explores the limits of anti-authoritarianism, transparency, and resistance as the key devices of a democratic critique of extitutional surveillance. A mismatch between the diffuse nature of surveillance and these repertoires of political critique invites exploring modes of democratic analysis that incorporate more diffuse conceptions of power and politics. The main components of the democratic analytics proposed here are understanding surveillance as social situations rather than a system and foregrounding uncoordinated disputes rather than resistance.

Jef Huysmans is Professor of International Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London. He co-convenes the research cluster Doing International Political Sociology. As Board member of the European International Studies Association he is responsible for developing an Early Career Researchers Development portfolio.

He is best known for his work on the politics of insecurity, the securitization of migration, critical methods, and international political sociology. Currently he is working on security and democracy in times of surveillance, an international political sociology of fracturing worlds, the political life of methods, and the politics of movement.

He has published widely in leading journals in international studies, politics, and European studies. He is author of Security Unbound. Enacting Democratic Limits  (Routledge, 2014), The Politics of Insecurity. Fear, Migration and Asylum in the EU. (Routledge 2006); and What is Politics? (Edinburgh University Press, 2005). He edited with Andrew Dobson and Raia Prokhovnik The Politics of Protection. Sites of Insecurity and Political Agency. (Routledge 2006); with Patricia Noxolo Community, citizenship, and the ‘war on terror’: Security and insecurity. (Palgrave 2009), with Xavier Guillaume Citizenship and Security. The constitution of Political Being. (Routledge 2013), and with Claudia Aradau, Andrew Neal and Nadine Voelkner Critical Security Methods. New Frameworks for Analysis. (Routledge, 2014)


Doing International Political Sociology: