Surveillance, Gender, and the Virtual Body in the Information Age

Kathryn Conrad
2009 Surveillance & Society  
In our contemporary 'information age', information and the body stand in a new, peculiar, and ambiguous relationship to one another. Information is plumbed from the body but treated as separate from it, facilitating, as Irma van der Ploeg has suggested, the creation of a separate virtual 'body-as-information' that has affected the very ontology of the body. This 'informatization of the body' has been both spurred and enabled by surveillance techniques that create, depend upon, and manipulate
more » ... , and manipulate virtual bodies for a variety of predictive purposes, including social control and marketing. While, as some feminist critics have suggested, there appears to be potential for information technologies to liberate us from oppressive ideological models, surveillance techniques, themselves so intimately tied to information systems, put normative pressure on non-normative bodies and practices, such as those of queer and genderqueer subjects. Ultimately, predictive surveillance is based in an innately conservative epistemology, and the intertwining of information systems with surveillance undermines any liberatory effect of the former.
doi:10.24908/ss.v6i4.3269 fatcat:mzexe7drgfdidfqsj5zgivjdmq