- Suspicious encounters: ordinary preemption and the securitization of photography
- Security Dialogue
- Volume | Issue number
- 43 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Photographers have become common targets of security practice in the public spaces of US and UK cities. The securitization of photography - where photographers are commonly stopped, questioned, told to surrender film or delete photos, and in some cases arrested - rests upon the invocation of a post-9/11 context and the preemptive security logics that characterize the ‘war on terror’. Here, the spatio-temporality of the photograph and the photo-taking subject are in tension with preemptive security stances in which everyday, ordinary actions - such as photography - are rendered suspicious and worthy of potential intervention. Using examples of specific encounters between photographers and security personnel, this article interrogates the conduct of these interventions and the preemptive security stance that scopes ordinary actions and everyday urban spaces through flexible and dispersed acts. Finally, the article considers how this uncoordinated and dispersed practice travels across a wide variety of actors without clear, causal linkages. The practice is a mobile, circuitous one, and through its analysis the article argues for more attention to be paid to everyday, embodied, and dispersed practices of preemption.
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