[Air-L] CfC Edited Volume: Sensing Security. Sensors and the Making of Transnational Security Infrastructures

Nikolaus Pöchhacker nikolaus.poechhacker at gmail.com
Mon Jan 15 00:42:09 PST 2018

Dear colleagues,

please find below our call for contributions to the edited volume
"sensing security". The calls can also be found on-line here:

We are looking forward to your abstracts!

Nina, Nikolaus, & Geoffrey

Call for Contributions

Sensing Security:  

Sensors and the Making of Transnational Security Infrastructures


Nina Witjes, (MCTS, Technical University of Munich)

Nikolaus Pöchhacker (MCTS,Technical University of Munich)

Geoffrey C. Bowker (Evoke Lab, University of California, Irvine)


In outer-space, underwater, in cities, our homes, or on our bodies -
there is no shortage of settings that we now find equipped, imagined and
measured with sensors. Anything and anyone can become a sensor,
gathering and transmitting data about our world in which “there are now
more automated sensors perceiving our environment and the elements that
constitute it than there are living human beings” (Tironi, 2017, p. 2). 
Invested with ideals ranging from ‘invisible computing’, the ‘Internet
of Things’, ‘global transparency’ or ‘algorithmic governance’,  sensing
technologies have been in particular foregrounded in contemporary
academic and policy debates about the relations between data, security
and politics. Approaching sensors as socio-technical devices (Amichelle
et al., 2012) we invite work that explores how they move into and out of
the security sector over time that even co-produce novel security
regimes (Witjes & Olbrich, 2017; Salter, 2008).

The increasingly globalized socio-technical infrastructures in the
making are often understood as creating an environment where the
abundance of available data collections increasingly leads to the
formation of regimes of ‘dataveillance’ (Amoore & de Goede, 2005). So
far, much work on the role of sensors as security devices has mainly
attended to their materialities and governance in national settings,
providing valuable insights how sensors are shaping knowledge, policies,
power relations (Suchman, Follis, & Weber, 2017). Building on and
inviting work from a variety of fields, in particular STS, security
studies, critical data studies, sociology and anthropology, this edited
volume seeks to understand the role of sensors in the making of
transnational security infrastructures. We are in particular interested
in accounts that contribute to understand how sensing devices - from
satellites and drones to environmental sensor networks and digital
sensing infrastructures – become invested with global and
socio-political significance. We seek both large-scale empirical
accounts of historical and contemporary cases across the globe, and
welcome papers that critically investigate sensors and sensory networks
as situated practices of constructing security, shaping and shaped by
changing local and global socio-technical environments.

More specifically, we ask how collective actors, such as states or
international institutions, are not only informed by these sensors, but
co-constituted in heterogeneous networks (Passoth & Rowland, 2015).
Contributing to the emerging intersections between STS and security
studies, this volume will attend to questions of macro level security
politics and micro level sensing practices as being enabled and mediated
through boundary infrastructures (Bowker & Star, 2000). Expanding on
Jennifer Gabry´s (2016) work on distributed sensor technologies as
shifting the relations, entities, occasions, and interpretive registers
of sensing, we argue the interplay of sensing and (algorithmic)
sense-making marks an highly important, yet underexplored momentum in
the social construction of security in digital societies. Sensory
devices are thus not only co-producing multiple ontologies of the world
(Jasanoff, 2004) but also mediate “macro-level” entities through
information infrastructures in the making and vice versa (Mukerji, 2011;
Pelizza, 2016).

Going beyond established boundaries in academic publishing and following
the tradition of STS as an engaged program (Sismondo, 2008), we also aim
to establish an opportunity to bring together people who work on common
topics, but seldomly cross paths due to their differing approaches.
Therefore we are keen to invite cooperative chapters from
practitioners/activists and social scientists who creatively discuss
their work and experiences concerning the various interplays between
techno-societies and (in)securities.

The following questions shall guide the contributors:

  * Which 'infrastructural inversions' (Bowker & Star, 2000)  occur when
    sensors become objects of international political controversy? How
    do sensors as security devices move in and out security discourses?
  * How do sensors embedded in smart borders or body scanners contribute
    to determine mobilities by co-constructing identities as well as
    novel forms of (criminological) knowledge through predictive analytics?
  * How do sensing practices and data infrastructures play out in
    different parts of the world? What are the various ways in which our
    electronic devices - and their leftovers - are connected to human
    rights violations, conflict and exclusion and how could a
    responsible governance of sensors look like?
  * How do sensors shape, shift and constitute domains of national and
    international security and policy-making? What is the role of sensor
    infrastructures in the constitution and mediation between state and
    non-state actors?

Deadline for abstracts (max. 250 words):1 March, 2018,notification of
acceptance will be given by 15 March, 2018.

We have an initial expression of interest from Mattering Press
(https://www.matteringpress.org)  for this edited volume and will
circulate updates regarding the publishing process as soon as possible.

If you are interested in submitting a chapter we suggest to also
consider our related panel at the EASST conference 2018 which can be
found here:

Contact: sensingsecurity at mcts.tum.de <mailto:sensingsecurity at mcts.tum.de>


Amicelle, A., Aradau, C., & Jeandesboz, J. (2015). Questioning security
devices: Performativity, resistance, politics. Security Dialogue, 46(4),

Amoore, L., & Goede, M. D. (2005). Governance, risk and dataveillance in
the war on terror. Crime, Law and Social Change, 43(2–3), 149–173.

Bowker, G. C., & Star, S. L. (2000). Sorting things out: classification
and its consequences. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Gabrys, J. (2016). Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and
the Making of a Computational Planet. Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press.

Jasanoff, S. (Ed.). (2004). States of Knowledge: The co-production of
science and social order. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis.

Mukerji, C. (2011). Jurisdiction, inscription, and state formation:
administrative modernism and knowledge regimes. Theory and Society,
40(3), 223–245.

Passoth, J.-H., & Rowland, N. (2015). Acting in International Relations?
The State Hypothesis, ANT, and Agency. In D. Jacobi & A. Freyberg-Inan
(Eds.), Human Nature, Agency and Beyond. Reflecting on the Human Element
in World Politics (pp. 286–304). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press

Pelizza, A. (2016). Developing the Vectorial Glance: Infrastructural
Inversion for the New Agenda on Government Information Systems. Science,
Technology, & Human Values, 41(2), 298–321.

Salter, M. B. (Ed.). (2008).Politics at the Airport.Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press.

Sismondo, S. (2008). Science and technology studies and an engaged
program. In E. Hackett, O. Amsterdamska, M. Lynch, & J. Wajcman (Eds.),
The handbook of science and technology studies (pp. 13–30). Cambridge,
MA: MIT Press.

Suchman, L., Follis, K., & Weber, J. (2017). Tracking and Targeting:
Sociotechnologies of (In)security. Science, Technology, & Human Values,
42(6), 983–1002.

Tironi, M. (2017). Regimes of Perceptibility and Cosmopolitical Sensing:
The Earth and the Ontological Politics of Sensor Technologies. Science
as Culture, 1–7.

Witjes, N., & Olbrich, P. (2017). A fragile transparency: satellite
imagery analysis, non-state actors, and visual representations of
security. Science and Public Policy, 44(4), 524–534.

Zureik, E., & Hindle, K. (2004). Governance, Security and Technology:
the Case of Biometrics. Studies in Political Economy, 73(1), 113–137.

More information about the Air-L mailing list