From “Control Centers” to “Centres of Coordination”?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 00:00
Oral Presentation
Hubert KNOBLAUCH, Technical University of Berlin, Germany
In this paper I shall argue that surveillance has been transformed in such a way as to exhibit new features. These new features of contemporary forms of surveillance become particularly visible when looking at paradigmatic studies, such as David Lyon’s The electronic eye: the rise of surveillance society (1994) and their historical situation. More specifically, the paper will focus on what has been often called the “control centre”, which include video surveillance of human bodies as well as of car, trains, planes and a huge range of infrastructures.

Control Centers are locales which are observing, regulating and controlling processes, actors and things in other spaces by mediated communicative actions using sophisticated technologies. While these technologies had been analogue in the 1990s, the article will address the role of digitalization and other new and cutting edge forms of mediatization, as e.g. in Smart Cities projects. This change is not sufficiently designated by the notion of “control centres”. On the basis of an ongoing comparative empirical study of control centres, I shall rather support the thesis that there is a dramatic change in the tasks assigned to control centre, in the forms of interaction and (technologically mediated) interactivity and, consequently, in the way they are exerting social control.