The politics of paranoia: paranoid positioning and conspiratorial narratives in the surveillance society
Harper, D. 2008. The politics of paranoia: paranoid positioning and conspiratorial narratives in the surveillance society. Surveillance & Society. 5 (1), pp. 1-32.
The notion of paranoia is often implicitly reproduced in the work of surveillance researchers. However, in this article I will argue that this notion needs to be interrogated since current conceptions of paranoia are inherently dualistic: viewing paranoia solely at an individual or intra-psychic level; or, alternatively solely at a societal level. Inevitably, either perspective is limited. Here I will attempt to break down this dichotomy by, firstly, drawing on the notion of discursive positioning to: analyse the cultural discourses which “produce” paranoia; examine how subjects (i.e. individuals, communities, societies etc.) become positioned by others as paranoid; and explore the effects of such positioning. Secondly, I will investigate the discursive positions through which people may position themselves as paranoid and describe some of the effects of such positioning. I conclude by drawing out some implications of a more nuanced view of paranoia for the field of surveillance studies.
|Keywords||paranoia; psychology; conceptions; surveillance research; literary examples; panoptical culture; conspiritorial narratives; big brother; conspiracy theories; politics|
|Journal||Surveillance & Society|
|Journal citation||5 (1), pp. 1-32|
|Web address (URL)||http://hdl.handle.net/10552/189|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||10 Jun 2009|
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