The politics of paranoia: paranoid positioning and conspiratorial narratives in the surveillance society

Harper, David J. (2008) ‘The politics of paranoia: paranoid positioning and conspiratorial narratives in the surveillance society’, Surveillance & Society, 5(1), pp. 1-32.

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Abstract

The notion of paranoia is often implicitly reproduced in the work of surveillance researchers. However, in this article I will argue that this notion needs to be interrogated since current conceptions of paranoia are inherently dualistic: viewing paranoia solely at an individual or intra-psychic level; or, alternatively solely at a societal level. Inevitably, either perspective is limited. Here I will attempt to break down this dichotomy by, firstly, drawing on the notion of discursive positioning to: analyse the cultural discourses which “produce” paranoia; examine how subjects (i.e. individuals, communities, societies etc.) become positioned by others as paranoid; and explore the effects of such positioning. Secondly, I will investigate the discursive positions through which people may position themselves as paranoid and describe some of the effects of such positioning. I conclude by drawing out some implications of a more nuanced view of paranoia for the field of surveillance studies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Citation: Harper, D. (2008) 'The politics of paranoia: paranoid positioning and conspiratorial narratives in the surveillance society'. Surveillance & Society, 5 (1) 1–32.
Divisions: Schools > Psychology, School of
Depositing User: Mr Stephen Grace
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2009 13:47
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2013 13:46
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10552/189

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