chapter  7
Kevin D. Haggerty and Richard V. Ericson (2000), 'The Surveillant Assemblage', The British Journal of Sociology, 51, pp. 605-22.
Pages 18

Surveillance has become a salient topic for theoretical reflection, and this interest coincides with the quantitative increase in surveillance in western societies. However, this paper docs not propose to provide a comprehensive overview of these systems of observation. A number of other authors have documented developments in this rapidly changing area (Staples 1997; Bogard 1996; Dandecker 1990; Lyon 1994; Gandy 1993). Instead, we view surveillance as one of the main institutional components of late modernity (Giddens 1990). Our aim is to reconsider some of the more familiar theoretical preoccupations about this topic. We do so by drawing from the works of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari to suggest that we are witnessing a convergence of what were once discrete surveillance systems to the point that we can now speak of an emerging 'surveillant assemblage'. This assemblage operates by abstracting human bodies from their territorial settings and separating them into a series of discrete flows. These flows are then reassembled into distinct 'data doubles' which can be scrutinized and targeted for intervention. In the process, we are witnessing a rhizomatic leveling of the hierarchy of surveillance, such that groups which were previously exempt from routine surveillance are now increasingly being monitored.