Surveillance Beyond Borders & Boundaries



The 8th Biennial Surveillance Studies Network Conference

7-9 June 2018

Aarhus, Denmark.

Recent years have witnessed the increasing scope, reach and pervasiveness of surveillance. It now operates on a scale ranging from the genome to the universe. Across the spheres of private and public life and the spaces between, surveillance mediates, documents and facilitates a wide range of activities.

At the same time, surveillance practices now reach beyond the corporal and temporal boundaries of life itself, no longer resting on the individual as subject, but instead falling both within and beyond it. This emphasises the porosity of such categories. Pervasive surveillance produces new articulations of power and animates flows of people, information and capital, harbouring potential for myriad opportunities as well as harms. With this growth of surveillance comes increasing complexity and paradox.

Within this milieu, these issues are particularly pronounced, controversial and prescient in relation to borders and boundaries. Surveillance practices have long been associated with shoring up territorial and categorical borders, yet in the digital age such practices become accelerated, in many cases beyond the speed of human comprehension. Highly dynamic inscriptions of difference, abnormality and undesirability are now commonplace. At the same time, surveillance practices transcend and challenge erstwhile articulations of borders and boundaries, including enabling mobility for some, uniting formerly fractured assemblies of information and the capacitating borderless passage of data.

The conference

Since 2004 the Biennial Surveillance Studies Network conference has become established as the world’s most significant gathering of surveillance studies experts. The Surveillance Studies Network is a registered charitable company dedicated to the study of surveillance in all its forms, and the free distribution of scholarly information, and constitutes the largest association of surveillance scholars in the world. The Surveillance Studies Network owns the leading surveillance-focused peer-reviewed journal Surveillance & Society, which has held long association with the conference. We encourage presenters to submit fully formed papers to the journal to be considered for publication.

We call for papers and panels from all areas of critical enquiry that seek to examine such complex articulations and impacts of surveillance in contemporary society. We invite participants to discuss, develop or demolish the borders and boundaries of surveillance. In particular, we welcome interventions that are truly interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, or transdisciplinary in scope and reach, from academics, activists, artists, and policy-makers, especially those who sit on the borderlands between academia and practice-based knowledge production.

Key themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Authority, democracy and surveillance
  • Surveillance and everyday life
  • History of surveillance
  • Surveillance and digital/social media
  • Art,fiction and surveillance
  • Surveillance infrastructures and architectures
  • Managing borders and uncertainty
  • Theories of surveillance
  • Ethics, philosophy, trust and intimacy in and of surveillance
  • Regulation, politics and governance of surveillance
  • Algorithmic surveillance and big data
  • Resistance to surveillance
  • Non-technological and interpersonal surveillance

Paper Proposals

Paper sessions will be composed by the Organising Committee based on the individual Paper Proposals submitted. Paper Proposals should consist of:

  • Name(s) of Author(s)
  • Affiliation(s) of Author(s)
  • Proposed Title of Paper 
  • An abstract of up to 150 words.

On acceptance paper proposers will be invited to submit an extended abstract, presentation summary, paper outline or developed paper draft of at least 2000 words for publication in the delegates area of the conference website ahead of the event. This can be submitted anytime up until the May deadline.

Visual or other artistic submissions

We welcome and encourage alternative formats, including but not limited to visual displays and other artistic installations. These may include but are not limited to films, documentaries, photographic exhibitions, architectural modeling and digital-mediated artistic forms. 

Artistic submissions should consist of:

  • Name(s) of proposer / artist
  • Affiliation(s)
  • An overview of the proposed submission of up to 250 words.

Panel Proposals

Panels are sessions that bring together a diverse group of panelists with varied views on a topic related to the conference theme. The session format should engage the panelists and audience in an interactive discussion. Panels should be designed to fit in a 90-minute session. Panel Proposals should consist of:

  • Name(s) of Organiser(s)
  • Affiliation(s) of Organiser(s)
  • Proposed Title of Panel
  • An abstract of up to 300 words describing the panel, including why the panel is of interest to the conference, and the proposed format of the panel.
  • Name(s) and Affiliation(s) and abstracts for all included papers (150 words) of all proposed panelists. Speakers included in successful panel proposals also will be required to later submit the more developed extended abstract, presentation summary, paper outline
  • or developed paper draft of at least 2000 words as per the instructions for paper proposals above. NB: Organisers must secure the agreement of all proposed panelists before submitting the Panel Proposal.


All proposals should be submitted by December 31st 2017

Decisions will be returned by January 31st 2018

All extended outlines/presentation summaries/paper drafts to be submitted by  May 1st 2018

Submissions should be made through the EasyChair submission webportal:

Conference Hosts & Venue

The conference will take place at Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark. The university was founded in 1928 and today it has several world class research fields. The main campus is located in the heart of Aarhus near the historic city centre. Its distinctive yellow brick buildings, designed by C.F. Møller, provide an inspiring framework for the university’s academic and social life, set in the hills and tranquil lakes of the University Park.

Conference Committee & Contact

The SSN Organising Committee is comprised of Peter Fussey (University of Essex), Anders Albrechtslund (Aarhus University), Kristin Veel (University of Copenhagen), Ask Risom Bøge (Aarhus University), Kasper Ostrowski (Aarhus University), Emmeline Taylor (City,

University of London), Megan Wood (University of North Carolina), Alana Saulnier (Queen’s University), David Murakami Wood (Queen’s University); Valerie Steeves (University of Ottawa), Jason Pridmore (Erasmus University), Rosamunde Van Brakel (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Nils Zurawski (University of Hamburg), Dean Wilson (University of Sussex).