CFP: Tracking, Targeting, Predicting. Epistemological, Ontological, and Biopolitical Dimensions of Techno-Security

Tracking, Targeting, Predicting.

Epistemological, Ontological, and Biopolitical Dimensions of Techno-Security

Department of Media Studies, University of Paderborn, 20-22nd June 2013

Tracking, targeting, predicting: These are basic components of the current high-tech military logic in the countries of the global North. Strong, ubiquitous ICT-based networks, manned and unmanned systems are used to control and monitor area-wide and over huge distances 24 hours a day to reach aglobespanning dominance based on a nearmonopoly of space and air power’ (Graham). The Information Revolution in Military Affairs is based on the intertwinement of information sovereignty, technological superiority and the close networking of intelligence, command centers and weapon technologies.

Surprisingly, the logic of civil security architectures seems to work along very similar lines. An impressive example is the recent ‘Domain Awareness System’ in Manhattan, co-produced by Microsoft and the New York City Police, with its more than 3000 cameras, 2500 sensors, hundreds of license-plate-scanners, access to huge criminal as well as terrorist databases, emergency calls etc. The system was introduced as a super-tool in the fight against terrorism but is already deployed for ‘regular’ crime investigation. High-tech warfare and civil security architectures seem to share a similar concept of techno-security based on precautionary risk management, an emphasis on advanced ICT, a preference for distanced operations and the reliance on the idea of full spectrum dominance.

The aim of the workshop is to analyze closely the logic of techno-security in its military and / or civil aspects as well as their possible entanglements.


Relevant questions are:

– What are the ontological, epistemological and biopolitical dimensions of today’s techno-security, of the growing convergence of recent sociotechnologies of surveillance and warfare?

– What role do technoscientific methods such as real time system analysis, scenario techniques, or computer simulations play in the logic of techno-security? How do technoscientific / biocybernetic approaches conjoin with biopolitical militarized practices — for example, in operating unpredictability and in their attempt to model the future?

– What is the impact of techno-(in)securities on everyday practices? Do we experience a militarization of civil life, the civilization of war, a ‘militarization of visual culture’ (Kaplan)?

– What are gendered dimensions of techno-security? Does techno-security contribute to social sorting in terms of gender, race, age, ability?

– (How) Are the ‘politics of fear’ (Massumi), the (game) culture of tracking/targeting, and the ‘entrepreneurial self’ (Bröckling) interwoven?

Additional submissions are encouraged that address further questions concerning the discourses and practices of techno-security in civil and / or military contexts. Please send your abstract of 500 words + references to cfp-weber [ AT ] no later than December, 31st 2012. They will be blind reviewed by the conference committee. Applicants will be notified of the decision by February, 28th 2013. Author names and addresses should only appear on a removable cover page to facilitate blind review. Please submit manuscripts as an MS Word or a Rich Text file. To grant sufficient time for intense discussions the contributors will be asked to limit their presentation to a total length of 25 minutes.


The conference will be open to the public. Conference language is English. There is no conference fee. Financial support for travel expenses may be granted to junior researchers upon request if the necessary funds are available.


Keynote speakers: Caren Kaplan, University of California Davis, USA; Stefan Kaufmann, University of Freiburg, Germany; Lucy Suchman, Lancaster University, UK.

Conference Committee: Stefan Kaufmann, University of Freiburg, Germany; Anna Leander, Copenhagen Business School, DK; Winifred R. Poster, Washington University, St. Louis, USA; Lucy Suchman, Lancaster University, UK; Peter Ullrich, Social Science Research Center Berlin, Germany; Jutta Weber, University of Paderborn, Germany

For further questions please contact Katrin M. Kämpf and Göde Both at cfp-weber [at]

We are looking forward to your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Jutta Weber, Institute of Media Studies, University of Paderborn

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