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[liberationtech] Call for Papers: Security, Control and Surveillance in the Latin American City

Lucas Melgaço lucas.melgaco at
Sun May 11 12:47:15 PDT 2014

Apologies for cross-posting.


Call for papers for the journal "Urbe: a Critical Perspective on Urban

Special Section: "Security, Control, and Surveillance in the Latin American

Lucas Melgaço
(Vrije Universiteit Brussel - VUB)
Nelson Arteaga Botello
(Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences - FLACSO)

Latin American cities are becoming increasingly monitored. The most evident
example is the increase in CCTV cameras, both public and private. With the
spread of surveillance cameras throughout the urban environment it is
becoming nearly impossible for an individual to avoid being digitally
recorded while taking a walk along the streets. Surveillance, however, goes
far beyond that, as it includes a set of many different technologies and
practices. In addition to CCTV, we can cite the appearance of innumerous
technologies like mobile and wearable devices (smartphones, digital
cameras, Google Glasses), drones, biometric tools, identification cards,

In Latin America, the main reason for installing such technologies is an
increase in urban violence or, at least, a growing fear of urban violence.
Security seems to be the driving force behind the intensification of the
use of surveillance technologies. There are cases, however, where it is
hard to tell apart fear of violence and fear of the “other” (the poor, the
marginalized). Surveillance technologies are then used not only to protect
but also to segregate.

Although “surveillance studies” is already an established research domain
in Europe and North America, in Latin America it is still developing.
Changes came after the creation of the Latin American Network of
Surveillance, Technology and Society Studies (LAVITS), of which the two
guest editors of this special issue are members
Founded in 2009, the LAVITS research network aims to become a platform for
discussion, exchange of knowledge, and debate around the sociotechnical
circumstances that enable capturing, storing, managing, and cross-checking
digital information.

One of the challenges faced by researchers who want to study surveillance
in Latin America is to identify the particularities of that continent in
comparison to the way surveillance is carried out on other continents. For
instance, fear of terrorism is not as present in Latin America as on other
continents. On the other hand, more than half of Latin American countries
experienced military dictatorships in the last century and this has
certainly influenced the way surveillance and security are perceived and
promoted in these countries.
This call for papers wants to address not only scholars with a focus on
Latin America, but also those who tackle the idea of surveillance through a
spatial and territorial approach.

We welcome submissions that articulate the ideas of security, surveillance,
control and the urban in Latin American cities. We particularly encourage
papers on, yet not limited to, the following themes:

• CCTV and Smart CCTV;
• The security and surveillance of mega-events taking place in Latin
• Control of dissent (demonstrations, public protests, etc.);
• Urban policing and the use of technologies of information for monitoring
and control in
public spaces;
• Resistance to surveillance (e.g. through the use of art);
• Smart cities, big data and integrated security centers;
• Urban planning and surveillance
• Urban law and data protection;
• Social media and the city;
• Mobile Surveillance: GPS devices, smartphones, RFID tags, wearable
devices, drones;
• International comparative studies of security and surveillance in Latin
America cities;
• The military history of Latin American cities and its relationship with
surveillance and
security today;
• Theoretical contributions of Latin American authors to the study of
surveillance, control,
and security in the Latin American city;

Full paper (5 to 8 thousand words, in English): by July 30, 2014
Expected publication date: January 2015
All papers will be submitted to a double-blind peer-review process.
Full papers must be sent by email to editorconvidado at
Check urbe’s Instructions for Authors at<>

Lucas Melgaço

Post-doctoral researcher and lecturer
Faculty of Law and Criminology
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
lucas.melgaco at
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