8th October 2009

CALL FOR PAPERS: Surveillance, Marketing and Consumption

Special Issue of Surveillance & Society (Volume 8, Number 2)


Guest edited by Jason Pridmore and Detlev Zwick (J.H.Pridmore@hszuyd.nlDZwick@schulich.yorku.ca)


This special edition of Surveillance & Society seeks to explore the myriad of ways in which consumers, consumption and market spaces have become subject to, and sites for the development and intensification of, practices of surveillance.

In the affluent parts of the world, contemporary experiences of everyday life are set within the context of a ‘society of consumers’ (Bauman 2005) in which "consumption has increasingly assumed a central systemic role in the reproduction of capitalist society" (Clarke 2003: 2). At the same time, modern forms of surveillance have developed out of systemic processes of capitalist production, bureaucratic organization, and the increasingly globalized struggles between nation states (Lyon 2007). Given the importance of systems of consumption and surveillance in modernity, it not surprising that spaces of consumption and consumption practices are routinely and systematically being monitored. From the collection of millions of customer transaction records, to the use CCTV in shopping malls, to the monitoring of online chat rooms, surveillance and sorting technologies gather and manipulate data to make meaningful and profitable "the physical, social and cultural mobility of social life, the moving about between environments and activities that has become a key characteristic of post-modern life" (Arvidsson 2004: 457).

With the economic rewards associated with superior customer intelligence, marketing practices are often at the forefront in the development and deployment of contemporary surveillance technologies. As social and political discourses shift toward a more generalized model of competition and market-shaped systems of action for individuals, groups and institutions (Lemke 2001)

– citizens defined as customers by the state, health care dealing with patients as clients, etc. – consumer surveillance has much to tell us about the current and future manifestations and role of surveillance in society.http://www.surveillance-and-society.org/ojs/ no later than February 28th, 2010.

We seek papers from various disciplines and theoretical standpoints that explore practices, intentions and implications of consumer surveillance in areas such as the following:

· Geodemographic profiling

· Clickstream monitoring

· Brand community and chat room surveillance

· RFID based marketing practices

· Data gathering and analytics practices (loyalty cards, contests, surveys)

· Database market segmentation and customer profiling

· Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM)

· Customer data mining

· Visual surveillance and CCTV in commercial spaces

· Behavioural advertising

· Brandscapes and the production of consumer lifestyles

· Surveillance in market research (‘commercial anthropology’, ‘commercial sociology’, ‘netnography’, etc.)

This is not intended to be an exclusive listing of possibilities for this edition. Other possibilities are welcomed and encouraged and can be discussed in advance with the guest-editors: Jason Pridmore, J.H.Pridmore@hszuyd.nl  and Detlev Zwick, DZwick@schulich.yorku.ca .

All papers must be submitted through the online submission system at

The issue will be published in September 2010. Please use the standard S&S formatting and submit the papers in a MS Word-compatible format.

Please contact the guest-editors if you wish to submit such a piece.