Book Review: Schools under Surveillance: Cultures of Control in Public Education.

Ragnedda, Massimo. 2010. Review of Monahan and Torres’ (eds.) Schools Under Surveillance. Cultures of Control in Public Education. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, in Surveillance & Society 7(3/4): 356-7. http://www.surveillance-and-society.org | ISSN: 1477-7487

School safety is of concern to the American public in general. Parents, students, teachers and staff want safe places where they and their children can study and work. Schools under Surveillance sheds light on the complexities of the culture of control in the public education system. Editors Monahan and Torres have collected thirteen essays from researchers studying surveillance and discipline in contemporary public schools in North America, mostly in the US, offering a brilliant guide to this topic. The contributors are American academics with different disciplinary backgrounds. The topics they address are wideranging, and include privacy and human rights issues, the cultural politics of race in urban education, new disciplinary orders in the carceral school and the security cultures and everyday resistance to school surveillance. Overall, the book presents a pragmatic and multi-disciplinary approach to the issue of surveillance and discipline in contemporary public schools. This volume’s interdisciplinarity makes the collection a provocative and stimulating reflection on cultures of control but also provides a brilliant overview of creative forms of resistance. Public schools, in particular in the US, are now among the most surveilled spaces, but perhaps because of this, are also creative spaces for resisting surveillance mechanisms. Teachers and students resist in different ways and not just through acts of sabotage but also through forms of artistic performance. Read the rest of this entry »

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