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Big Data Surveillance and the Body-subject

Ball, Kirstie, Di Domenico, MariaLaura and Nunan, Daniel (2016) Big Data Surveillance and the Body-subject Body and Society, 22 (2). pp. 58-81.

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This paper considers the implications of big data practices for theories about the surveilled subject who, analysed from afar, is still gazed upon, although not directly watched as with previous surveillance systems. We propose this surveilled subject be viewed through a lens of proximity rather than interactivity, to highlight the normative issues arising within digitally mediated relationships. We interpret the ontological proximity between subjects, data flows and big data surveillance through Merleau-Ponty’s ideas combined with Levinas’ approach to ethical proximity and Coeckelberg’s work on proximity in the digital age. This leads us to highlight how competing normativities, and normative dilemmas in these proximal spaces, manipulate the surveilled subject’s embodied practices to lead the embodied individual towards experiencing them in a local sense. We explore when and how the subject notices these big data practices and then interprets them through translating their experiences into courses of action, inaction or acquiescence.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : Marketing
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Ball, Kirstie
Di Domenico,
Nunan, Daniel
Date : 1 June 2016
DOI : 10.1177/1357034X15624973
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2016. SAGE Publications. The published version can be found at
Uncontrolled Keywords : Social Sciences, Sociology, big data, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty, normativity, proximity, subjectivity, surveillance
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 05 Apr 2017 15:38
Last Modified : 21 Jan 2020 10:51

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