Presentation on theme: "Dr Mike Dee, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane."— Presentation transcript:
Dr Mike Dee, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane.
My 2008 PhD: Young People, Public Space & Citizenship Surveyed 1100 High School students in the Brisbane and Logan areas using a survey instrument designed by Logan City Youth Council after doing social planning work with them Some survey questions were asked about CCTV, whether respondents felt safe, if there should be more CCTV….
As David Lyon said yesterday, its important to place surveillance studies in the widest context.. This paper discusses the situation of welfare claimants, constructed as faulty citizens and flawed welfare subjects at the receiving end of complex and multi-layered, private and public, forms of monitoring and surveillance aimed at securing socially responsible, consuming and compliant behaviours. In Australia as in many other western countries, the rise of neoliberal economic regimes with their harsh and often repressive treatment of welfare claimants operates in tandem with a growing arsenal of CCTV and assorted urban governance measures (Monahan 2008, Maki 2011). The capacity for all forms of surveillance to intensify social inequalities through the lens of CCTV and other modes and methods of electronic monitoring is amply demonstrated in the surveillance studies literature, raising fundamental questions around issues of social justice, equity and the expenditure of societal resources (Norris and Armstrong 1999, Lyon 1994, 2001, Loader 1996).
A repertoire or constellation of surveillance techniques and apparatus exists in cameras, data capture, loyalty cards and other devices, such as the mosquito and E-Nose. Some populations are subject to special welfare surveillance and a stable of other measures such as CCTV. Places such as Logan near Brisbane get mobile CCTV cameras that can climb trees and lighting poles as well as the measures outlined in the Federal Budget., including compulsory participation in income management for teenage parents and parents aged 23 if on welfare for two or more years, Add to this the BasicsCard (costing over $4000 per person to implement) used in the Northern Territory and a particular level of monitoring, surveillance and capture of data is reached. The amount of data about purchasing choices made by BasicsCard is substantial but where does it go and how and is it retained? BasicCard money can only be used to buy essentials. The proportion is generally 50%, but may be up to 70%. Generally, 100% of any lump sum payments (such as the Baby Bonus) is quarantined. A minimum spend of $5 is required. (ACOSS 2011). Income Management is an historic break with cash payments from 1944, previously sustenance was obtained from police stations (ACOSS 2011). The Gillard Government is committed to Social Exclusion (even though the minister had to be coached on its meanings) but as Levitas (1998) and Lister (2000, 2004) have noted, social inclusion based on getting a (any) job is a narrow exclusionary policy frame offering a diminished sense of citizenship
Recently the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Logan City Council (near Brisbane) had reason to celebrate having just bought for the people of Logan a Rapid Action Deployment Surveillance System or RDSS. For $110,000 the local ratepayers get two mobile cameras that climb poles or street lights and surveill public space, providing high quality, real time images to a monitoring facility and also hand held and in vehicle devices (Logan City Council). Logan City already has something of a growing reputation for CCTV coverage which has ballooned in the last decade from 8 to more than 300-one (camera) for every 1000 people in Logan (Albert and Logan News 21/07/11).
Decisions about the installation and /or extension-upgrade of CCTV systems are barely concerned with questions of civil liberties and largely devoted to obtaining a technical fix to irksome and persistent urban issues whose antecedence may lie in poverty and disadvantage but through reconstruction, become matters of governance and control on behalf of the responsible majority as Clavell (2011:525) notes: CCTV has become an increasingly popular policy solution to security problems in urban environments: as part of a broader project to promote civility and eliminate anti-social behaviour. The need to impose proper behaviour and sanction deviance is the discourse used to justify and legitimize the need to control what people do in open, public space through the electronic lens-as well as an increased police presence and powers.
The Federal Budget seeks to end the corrosive effects of welfare through requiring responsibility and emphasising the importance of the dignity and purpose of work (Gillard 2011:5). In a strange inversion of the much feared spectre of the alleged nanny state a new paternalism has instead been unleashed through income management in targeted areas of substantial economic and social disadvantage, underpinned by a costly bureaucratic surveillance, monitoring and sanctioning infrastructure (Tomlinson 2010, 2011, Buckmaster 2011:2). Responsible behaviour is to be induced or supported with a basics shopping card holding a percentage of a welfare claimants entitlements, to be spent only on approved items (Buckmaster 2011:2). This is a key use of the notion of responsibilisation to change the behaviours of certain welfare claimants. Resistance, especially by Indigenous people points to loss of dignity around the imposition of income management, complexity and loss of agency in using the card and the contradiction of being made independent by becoming dependent or as Minister Macklin has stated: Welfare should not be a destination or a way of life. The Government is committed to progressively reforming the welfare system to foster individual responsibility and to provide a platform for people to move up and out of welfare dependence. Comment by Elaine Peckham for NTCOSS (2011) : When the Intervention began I should not have been put on Income Management as I didnt have any children in my care. I was put onto Income Management regardless of me being a grandmother, responsible and someone who worked and looked after my family all my life. People should have had a choice before being put on Income Management but we were not given that choice. We had no choice at all whatsoever. And its still happening.
The Budget contains a number of measures that aim to bring about change in the personal behaviour of welfare recipients. This reflects the growing emphasis by the Government on addressing what it describes as the corrosive effects of welfare. That is, the idea that while welfare is necessary for the alleviation of disadvantage it also has a role in maintaining or possibly even causing disadvantage. During the 2010 election campaign, Labors main welfare policy committed a re-elected Gillard Government to the task of modernising Australias welfare system through creating opportunity and requiring responsibility. The policy referred to the need to spread the dignity and purpose of work, end the corrosive aimlessness of welfare and bring more Australians into mainstream economic and social life. A central theme of government policy in this area has been the need to support or induce the adoption of more responsible behaviours in particular communities by, for example, placing conditions on eligibility for welfare payments or on how welfare payments may be spent. Funding for the above measures totals $288.4 million. The measures are an indication of the Governments growing commitment to the role of personal behavioural change in overcoming disadvantage (sometimes described as new paternalism). It is also notable that several of the measures involve interventions in particular disadvantaged communities. This reflects growing interest on the part of the Government in what are known as location based initiatives programs that draw on research indicating that disadvantage tends to cluster in particular geographical locations. The specific measures raise a number of questions, including how the Government decided which locations would be included, whether exemptions from the measures are possible and how the measures will be evaluated (what would constitute success?). General questions related to the growing emphasis on new paternalist measures include: what limits ought there be on the nature and extent of interventions in the lives of welfare recipients; and, to what extent can welfare reforms cause individuals to change their behaviours in a meaningful and enduring way (is there a risk of creating even further dependency?) (Buckmaster 2011, Parliament of Australia)
Writing in 1973, Rule makes some important and prescient observations on surveillance for contemporary society: Total surveillance, under anything like the present state of technology and social organization is impossible. One simply cannot envisage how it would be feasible for any regime literally to watch everyone all of the time, to digest the resulting information continually and fully, and to remain eternally ready to respond. It is possible, however, to imagine what one might call a central clearing house for mass surveillance and control, without straining the limits of present-day technology and organizational skills. Under such a system, all major agencies of mass surveillance and control within a single society would render unlimited assistance to one another. Information generated in the relationship between the client and any one system would automatically be available to any other system (p.319).
Measures to reframe, monitor, control & restrict public space in the urban sphere are replicated in the domain of neo-liberal social policy making in Australia and elsewhere. Peter Rogers presentation on the UK riots yesterday and the casting of policy responses in the wake of these events-a key discourse of a responsible community is an informing community, in a re-assertion of individual and community responsibilities over rights. Maki (2011) notes that welfare surveillance has been regarded in surveillance studies as neither good or bad-but she says it amounts to war on the poor and a direct assault on the least privileged in society and some are more surveilled than others. This connects with early forms of welfare surveillance in the 1601 Elizabethan Poor Laws, onwards (Lyon 2004). Architecture of distrust as opposed to trust –as Lyon noted yesterday, suspicion and monitoring is costly to maintain and counter-productive? Monahan (2008):220 notes different forms of surveillance affect different populations-the affluent may be involved in market research, while the poor, in accessing services, encounter invasive scrutiny of their purchases and discipline of their behaviour
As Norris and Armstrong (1999) noted presciently, the surveillance gaze is far from neutral: The gaze of the cameras does not fall equally on all users of the street but on those who are stereotypically predefined as potentially deviant, or through appearance and demeanour, are singled out by operators as unrespectable. In this way youth, particularly those already socially and economically marginal, may be subject to even greater levels of authoritative intervention and official stigmatisation, and rather than contributing to social justice through the reduction of victimisation, CCTV will merely become a tool of injustice through the amplification of differential and discriminatory policing (p.279).
Harris (2004:121) notes that much of the public domain is commercialized and privately funded and run, even if on an outsourced, contracted nature, on behalf of a branch of government. The comment below by Mizen, Bolton and Pole (1999) about the U.K. is also highly applicable to the Australian context: Where there were once municipal recreation grounds, youth clubs, community discos, free or below cost sport and extra-curricular activities, as well as subsidized transport to get there in the first place, there now exist private leisure centres, bowling alleys, multi- screen cinema complexes, clubs and theme pubs, accessed by privatized bus companies or taxis. The point to underline is that childrens leisure is increasingly constituted according to the dictates of the market, whose only entry requirement is the possession of money (p. 433).
New times are characterized by a sense of danger and uncertainty about the world, and this is expressed in the management of public spaces. At the same time the new economy has required young people to move beyond their designated spaces of the home, street, and school into other sites such as new workplaces, training programs, and new spaces of consumption. In one sense there are now more places where young people are seen. However, while the number of places that young people are able to occupy has expanded, these are also subject to increased regulation (p.100).
Public Space: could be anywhere in an urban area such as streets, parks, civic spaces and buildings, spaces between spaces, shopping malls (mass private space) Public space is increasingly regulated and contested especially around young peoples use of it-see also Occupy. CCTV: numerous kinds, closed and open street surveillance systems, now in colour, microwave enabled, with speakers. Cyberspace…
CCTV in the UK-more than 4.2 million cameras, following Bulger murder in1993 and development of technology in Northern Ireland Australia following in the same vein with attempts to access every CCTV camera in Australia Prominent security-industrial complex linked to civic authorities abuses of CCTV images, privacy, ownership and evidential issues A range of concepts, frames and theories can be applied to these issues from sociology of youth, queertheory, urban sociology, governance, social planning, social geography, cultural sociology, rights, social justice, surveillance studies-consider Foucault, (1986) (especially the notion of heterotopia) or sites that undo the usual order of space, Castells, Sennett, etc Key critique of CCTV is against its own claims as preventing crime-see also London riots Social sorting/ordering of public space through surveillance and application of exclusionary practices and preferred types-exclusion of hoodies and poor types, seating at coffee shops is not free Flawed consumers or vagabonds (Baumann 1998) as the dangerous classes also Brisbanes Southbank Corporation Fortress City and destruction of public space (Davis 1990) Surveillance Creep (Nelkin & Andrews 2003)
A way of categorising public space is suggested by Tonkiss (2005:67) in the square indicating collective belonging, the café representing social exchange and the street, a place marked by informal encounter. The square is any public space provided or protected by the state and is open to all as a simple expression of citizenship. The second kind of space helps to facilitate contact between humans in a broadly social setting that can be a pubic or private space. The third and final form of space, the street, is seen as the basic unit of public life, a routine if necessary conduit for marginal encounters based on equal rights to be in public space (Tonkiss 2005: 68).
In The Life and Death of Great American Cities. Jacobs discusses the daily life of the urban streets and how social participation is essential to the successful transition by young people to adulthood. She further talks of sidewalk contacts, made possible by the provision of comfortable seating and peaceful rest areas, as the small change from which a citys wealth of public life may grow (Jacobs 1965: 41). Writing about the late 1960s and remarking on the drive for urban conformity discernable in a number of American cities, Sennett in The Fall Of Public Man (1976), agues that homogeneity should be resisted and diversity and difference encouraged because, in his words, the daily experience of public space …should be gritty and disturbing rather than pleasant (Sennett 1976:143). Public spaces should be truly inclusive and co-produced with users to generate spaces that are safe, used and dynamic, rather than a pastiche of of village life likely to be of little relevance, or overtly surveilled.
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Students were also asked if they considered themselves to be gay, lesbian or bisexual and/or Indigenous, homeless, disabled or marginalised/other. While a large number gave a nil response, the highest response was by participants identifying themselves as marginalised/other people (62). The meaning of this response is not entirely clear, but may suggest that respondents considered themselves to be marginalized/other(ed) in relation to using public space and possibly life in general. The next largest response group, people who stated they were gay, lesbian or bisexual, is where a number of respondents shared what may be sensitive information about their perceived sexuality. Students self identified as: lesbian (3), bisexual (9), gay (6). A relatively small number of respondents identified as being Indigenous, homeless, or as having disabilities. Eight respondents identified as belonging to some or all of these categories. These responses indicate a little of the complexity of the lived experience of young people in using public space. They also say something of the multiple social worlds they occupy, wherein some view safety and public space quite differently from others, or may feel less included and respected (White and Wyn 2004, Harris 2006, Hillier and Harrison 2007). The needs of queer young people in particular for good, safe and interesting places and spaces has been/is largely overlooked in academic/planning literature (Dwyer 2008, Hillier and Harrison 2007). GLBTQ young people are the subjects of particular technologies of exclusion which work to mark them as deviant and prevent them from full participation in public life Hillier and Harrison 2007:83).