Sunday, September 04, 2016

Surveillance and Film

My new book, Surveillance and Film, will officially be published by Bloomsbury Academic Sept. 8, 2016.

Here's a description:


Surveillance is a common feature of everyday life. But how are we to make sense of or understand what surveillance is, how we should feel about it, and what, if anything, can we do? Surveillance and Film is an engaging and accessible book that maps out important themes in how popular culture imagines surveillance by examining key feature films that prominently address the subject. Drawing on dozens of examples from around the world, J. Macgregor Wise analyzes films that focus on those who watch (like Rear Window, Peeping Tom, Disturbia, Gigante, and The Lives of Others), films that focus on those who are watched (like The Conversation, Caché, and Ed TV), films that feature surveillance societies (like 1984, THX 1138, V for Vendetta, The Handmaid's Tale, The Truman Show, and Minority Report), surveillance procedural films (from The Naked City, to Hong Kong's Eye in the Sky, The Infernal Affairs Trilogy, and the Overheard Trilogy of films), and films that interrogate the aesthetics of the surveillance image itself (like Sliver, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Der Riese, and Look). Wise uses these films to describe key models of understanding surveillance (like Big Brother, Panopticism, or the Control Society) as well as to raise issues of voyeurism, trust, ethics, technology, visibility, identity, privacy, and control that are essential elements of today's culture of surveillance. -

 And some very nice reviews

“Wise claims this book is not a survey of surveillance film; he is right. This work is infinitely more useful. The examples chosen display a curatorial expertise that only comes from years of immersion in the subject. Wise combines close, textual reading of individual movies, thematic analysis, and historical contextualisation to create that most elusive of scholarly achievements: an eminently accessible yet original contribution. Teachers, students, and researchers will all find something of use in Wise's brilliant analysis of the surveillant imaginary. Guiding the reader through surveillant subjectivities, aesthetics, politics, and structures of feeling, this book fully unpacks the meaning of surveillance films in the contemporary conjuncture.” –  Clare Birchall, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Culture, King's College London, UK
“This book is not (only) about a certain group of films, but about the surveillance culture we live in: Its central concern is the taken-for-grantedness of the myriad technologies that monitor, record, and process the minutiae of our daily lives. By discussing not only the classics of popular surveillance fiction (The Truman Show, Enemy of the State, and many more), but also lesser known, but not less intriguing examples of this genre, Wise provides us with important philosophical, historical, and sociological insights into how surveillance practices and technology came to pervade our everyday lives. It is highly readable and balances detailed analysis of the films with the most current theoretical concepts in surveillance studies. This publication is recommended to students and scholars of film and media studies as well as the social sciences.” –  Dietmar Kammerer, Research Associate, Institute for Media Studies, University of Margurg, Germany
“With enviable clarity and insight, Wise demonstrates how film provides a rich set of cultural resources for addressing one of the pressing questions of our time: how to think about the surveillance society we are building for ourselves. Drawing on a wide range of films, he probes in original, productive, and sometimes surprising ways the relationship between desire, control, and the monitoring gaze. This book is a work of care -- Wise is a careful and generous interpreter -- but also one of concern about our increasingly monitored moment.” –  Mark Andrejevic, Professor of Media Studies, Pomona College, USA
- See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/surveillance-and-film-9781628924855/#sthash.CtMVEnhE.dpuf

Surveillance is a common feature of everyday life. But how are we to make sense of or understand what surveillance is, how we should feel about it, and what, if anything, can we do? Surveillance and Film is an engaging and accessible book that maps out important themes in how popular culture imagines surveillance by examining key feature films that prominently address the subject. Drawing on dozens of examples from around the world, J. Macgregor Wise analyzes films that focus on those who watch (like Rear Window, Peeping Tom, Disturbia, Gigante, and The Lives of Others), films that focus on those who are watched (like The Conversation, Caché, and Ed TV), films that feature surveillance societies (like 1984, THX 1138, V for Vendetta, The Handmaid's Tale, The Truman Show, and Minority Report), surveillance procedural films (from The Naked City, to Hong Kong's Eye in the Sky, The Infernal Affairs Trilogy, and the Overheard Trilogy of films), and films that interrogate the aesthetics of the surveillance image itself (like Sliver, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Der Riese, and Look). Wise uses these films to describe key models of understanding surveillance (like Big Brother, Panopticism, or the Control Society) as well as to raise issues of voyeurism, trust, ethics, technology, visibility, identity, privacy, and control that are essential elements of today's culture of surveillance. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/surveillance-and-film-9781628924855/#sthash.CtMVEnhE.dpuf
Surveillance is a common feature of everyday life. But how are we to make sense of or understand what surveillance is, how we should feel about it, and what, if anything, can we do? Surveillance and Film is an engaging and accessible book that maps out important themes in how popular culture imagines surveillance by examining key feature films that prominently address the subject. Drawing on dozens of examples from around the world, J. Macgregor Wise analyzes films that focus on those who watch (like Rear Window, Peeping Tom, Disturbia, Gigante, and The Lives of Others), films that focus on those who are watched (like The Conversation, Caché, and Ed TV), films that feature surveillance societies (like 1984, THX 1138, V for Vendetta, The Handmaid's Tale, The Truman Show, and Minority Report), surveillance procedural films (from The Naked City, to Hong Kong's Eye in the Sky, The Infernal Affairs Trilogy, and the Overheard Trilogy of films), and films that interrogate the aesthetics of the surveillance image itself (like Sliver, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Der Riese, and Look). Wise uses these films to describe key models of understanding surveillance (like Big Brother, Panopticism, or the Control Society) as well as to raise issues of voyeurism, trust, ethics, technology, visibility, identity, privacy, and control that are essential elements of today's culture of surveillance. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/surveillance-and-film-9781628924855/#sthash.CtMVEnhE.dpuf
Surveillance is a common feature of everyday life. But how are we to make sense of or understand what surveillance is, how we should feel about it, and what, if anything, can we do? Surveillance and Film is an engaging and accessible book that maps out important themes in how popular culture imagines surveillance by examining key feature films that prominently address the subject. Drawing on dozens of examples from around the world, J. Macgregor Wise analyzes films that focus on those who watch (like Rear Window, Peeping Tom, Disturbia, Gigante, and The Lives of Others), films that focus on those who are watched (like The Conversation, Caché, and Ed TV), films that feature surveillance societies (like 1984, THX 1138, V for Vendetta, The Handmaid's Tale, The Truman Show, and Minority Report), surveillance procedural films (from The Naked City, to Hong Kong's Eye in the Sky, The Infernal Affairs Trilogy, and the Overheard Trilogy of films), and films that interrogate the aesthetics of the surveillance image itself (like Sliver, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Der Riese, and Look). Wise uses these films to describe key models of understanding surveillance (like Big Brother, Panopticism, or the Control Society) as well as to raise issues of voyeurism, trust, ethics, technology, visibility, identity, privacy, and control that are essential elements of today's culture of surveillance. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/surveillance-and-film-9781628924855/#sthash.CtMVEnhE.dpuf

“Wise claims this book is not a survey of surveillance film; he is right. This work is infinitely more useful. The examples chosen display a curatorial expertise that only comes from years of immersion in the subject. Wise combines close, textual reading of individual movies, thematic analysis, and historical contextualisation to create that most elusive of scholarly achievements: an eminently accessible yet original contribution. Teachers, students, and researchers will all find something of use in Wise's brilliant analysis of the surveillant imaginary. Guiding the reader through surveillant subjectivities, aesthetics, politics, and structures of feeling, this book fully unpacks the meaning of surveillance films in the contemporary conjuncture.” –  Clare Birchall, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Culture, King's College London, UK

“This book is not (only) about a certain group of films, but about the surveillance culture we live in: Its central concern is the taken-for-grantedness of the myriad technologies that monitor, record, and process the minutiae of our daily lives. By discussing not only the classics of popular surveillance fiction (The Truman Show, Enemy of the State, and many more), but also lesser known, but not less intriguing examples of this genre, Wise provides us with important philosophical, historical, and sociological insights into how surveillance practices and technology came to pervade our everyday lives. It is highly readable and balances detailed analysis of the films with the most current theoretical concepts in surveillance studies. This publication is recommended to students and scholars of film and media studies as well as the social sciences.” –  Dietmar Kammerer, Research Associate, Institute for Media Studies, University of Margurg, Germany

“With enviable clarity and insight, Wise demonstrates how film provides a rich set of cultural resources for addressing one of the pressing questions of our time: how to think about the surveillance society we are building for ourselves. Drawing on a wide range of films, he probes in original, productive, and sometimes surprising ways the relationship between desire, control, and the monitoring gaze. This book is a work of care -- Wise is a careful and generous interpreter -- but also one of concern about our increasingly monitored moment.” –  Mark Andrejevic, Professor of Media Studies, Pomona College, USA
- See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/surveillance-and-film-9781628924855/#sthash.CtMVEnhE.dpuf

Surveillance is a common feature of everyday life. But how are we to make sense of or understand what surveillance is, how we should feel about it, and what, if anything, can we do? Surveillance and Film is an engaging and accessible book that maps out important themes in how popular culture imagines surveillance by examining key feature films that prominently address the subject. Drawing on dozens of examples from around the world, J. Macgregor Wise analyzes films that focus on those who watch (like Rear Window, Peeping Tom, Disturbia, Gigante, and The Lives of Others), films that focus on those who are watched (like The Conversation, Caché, and Ed TV), films that feature surveillance societies (like 1984, THX 1138, V for Vendetta, The Handmaid's Tale, The Truman Show, and Minority Report), surveillance procedural films (from The Naked City, to Hong Kong's Eye in the Sky, The Infernal Affairs Trilogy, and the Overheard Trilogy of films), and films that interrogate the aesthetics of the surveillance image itself (like Sliver, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Der Riese, and Look). Wise uses these films to describe key models of understanding surveillance (like Big Brother, Panopticism, or the Control Society) as well as to raise issues of voyeurism, trust, ethics, technology, visibility, identity, privacy, and control that are essential elements of today's culture of surveillance. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/surveillance-and-film-9781628924855/#sthash.CtMVEnhE.dpuf
Surveillance is a common feature of everyday life. But how are we to make sense of or understand what surveillance is, how we should feel about it, and what, if anything, can we do? Surveillance and Film is an engaging and accessible book that maps out important themes in how popular culture imagines surveillance by examining key feature films that prominently address the subject. Drawing on dozens of examples from around the world, J. Macgregor Wise analyzes films that focus on those who watch (like Rear Window, Peeping Tom, Disturbia, Gigante, and The Lives of Others), films that focus on those who are watched (like The Conversation, Caché, and Ed TV), films that feature surveillance societies (like 1984, THX 1138, V for Vendetta, The Handmaid's Tale, The Truman Show, and Minority Report), surveillance procedural films (from The Naked City, to Hong Kong's Eye in the Sky, The Infernal Affairs Trilogy, and the Overheard Trilogy of films), and films that interrogate the aesthetics of the surveillance image itself (like Sliver, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Der Riese, and Look). Wise uses these films to describe key models of understanding surveillance (like Big Brother, Panopticism, or the Control Society) as well as to raise issues of voyeurism, trust, ethics, technology, visibility, identity, privacy, and control that are essential elements of today's culture of surveillance. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/surveillance-and-film-9781628924855/#sthash.CtMVEnhE.dpuf
Surveillance is a common feature of everyday life. But how are we to make sense of or understand what surveillance is, how we should feel about it, and what, if anything, can we do? Surveillance and Film is an engaging and accessible book that maps out important themes in how popular culture imagines surveillance by examining key feature films that prominently address the subject. Drawing on dozens of examples from around the world, J. Macgregor Wise analyzes films that focus on those who watch (like Rear Window, Peeping Tom, Disturbia, Gigante, and The Lives of Others), films that focus on those who are watched (like The Conversation, Caché, and Ed TV), films that feature surveillance societies (like 1984, THX 1138, V for Vendetta, The Handmaid's Tale, The Truman Show, and Minority Report), surveillance procedural films (from The Naked City, to Hong Kong's Eye in the Sky, The Infernal Affairs Trilogy, and the Overheard Trilogy of films), and films that interrogate the aesthetics of the surveillance image itself (like Sliver, Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Der Riese, and Look). Wise uses these films to describe key models of understanding surveillance (like Big Brother, Panopticism, or the Control Society) as well as to raise issues of voyeurism, trust, ethics, technology, visibility, identity, privacy, and control that are essential elements of today's culture of surveillance - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/surveillance-and-film-9781628924855/#sthash.CtMVEnhE.dpuf

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Bill Posters Will be Band

Sadly, I have heard the Bill Posters Will Be Band has closed up shop. Wish I could have seen them play again. The only time I got to see them live was in the Fall of 1986. The photo below is from that gig. They were playing, "Stand by Your Man."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Now this is odd...

Just discovered that I've been cited in a publication last summer by the Office of the President of the United States (from the Council of Economic Advisors, apparently): The Cost of Delaying Action to Stem Climate Change. The problem is, I'm cited as a co-author of an article I never wrote.  The citation in the report is as follows:


Edmonds, Jae, Leon Clarke, John Lurz, and J. Macgregor Wise. 2008. “Stabilizing CO2 Concentrations with Incomplete International Cooperation.” Climate Policy 8, 4: 355- 376.

The citation should have listed M. Wise from the University of Maryland College Park (I presume this is Marshall Wise who is cited a couple of other times with some of these same co-authors, and who is probably pretty ticked off that he got his work cited in a report from the Office of the President and they got his name wrong!).  Here's the original article: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3763/cpol.2007.0469#.VHalXt51Jz8


So my question is: J. Macgregor Wise is a pretty unique name. J. Macgregor is quite different from "M."  Where did the authors of this report get my name from??  I mean, they even got the lower case "g" at the start of "gregor" (and no one ever gets that one right). It's not like they cited "N. Wise" or committed some other typo--they inserted an almost entirely different name. I'm also not an economist or involved with climate change research. Am I in someone's autocorrect (either the computer software version or their subconscious version)?

Weird.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Stuart Hall, RIP





Two or three nights ago I dreamed I was in London to hear Stuart Hall give a talk. Unfortunately there were the usual oneiric shenanigans and I didn't get further than the lobby. A missed opportunity, I thought at the time. Too true. And now he is gone. But Hall is here in my lecture notes for my freshman media and culture course, and here again in the opening weeks of my grad class in qualitative methods, and here again in the turn of a question, in the wrestle with a theory, in a commitment to think us a bit further down the road, and in the commitment to do work that matters.

I remember sitting in a lecture hall at the University of Illinois, almost a quarter century ago now, listening to Hall give the talk that would become his essay, “Cultural Studies and its Theoretical Legacies,” with its struggles with Althusser and the cry, "Against the urgency of people dying in the streets, what in God's name is the point of cultural studies?”  I remember as well the time I spent that summer with Hall's warm, rich voice resonating in my headset as I transcribed that talk for the subsequent book.

His was what Melissa Gregg once called one of cultural studies’ affective voices. And it will be sorely missed.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

New books

Courtesy of a trip to the National Communication Association conference in Washington. DC. Some new books.

Andre Jansson and Miyase Christensen (2014) Media, Surveillance, and Identity: Social Perspectives. Peter Lang. A great collection, deals with social media, politics, consumerism, etc. Nice pieces by David Lyon on the culture of surveillance, Mark Andrejevic on debt, Lee Humphreys on social networks and surveillance, ad many others.

William G. Staples (2014). Everyday Surveillance: Vigilance and Visibility in Postmodern Life (2nd edition). Rowman and Littlefield.  An extensive update of a key text for surveillance studies. Looking forward to reading it.

Katrin Weller, Axel Bruns, Jean Burgess, Merja Mahrt, Cornelius Puschmann (eds) (2014) Twitter and Society. Peter Lang. Aims to be "the" book on Twitter studies and really does encompass the range of research. Nice use of Paul Klee's Twittering Machine on the cover!

Ethan Thomson and Jason Mittell (eds) (2013) How to Watch Television. NYU Press. Nice, useful collection of critical perspectives and issues, each done in a short chapter focusing on a different TV show.

Must find other things to blog about besides book acquisitions.

In the meantime, there it is.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Yet more books

Less than two weeks to go until the start of semester, with a To-Do list as long as my arm, and these drop into my mailbox (OK, not unbidden, I did order them).

New books I really wish I had time to read right now:

Bruno Latour, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. Harvard.

Jonathan Crary, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep. Verso.

Lev Manovich, Software Takes Command. Bloomsbury.

Shoshana Magnet, When Biometrics Fail:  Gender, Race, and the Technology of Identity. Duke.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pulp Surveillance

Of the more voyeuristic variety. 1963 (first paperback edition, originally published in 1961).